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Gnomes mope in crannyless Canberra

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12.10.2019

Whenever I call for Canberra to board and lodge an occasional distinguished and stimulating Thinker-In-Residence one of the ripper thinkers I imagine us inviting is Sir Roger Scruton the philosopher and writer.

Some of his major passions, aesthetics and urban architecture and city planning, overlap a lot and he is famous for expressing (eloquently) his horror at what he says we are doing to make our cities ugly and dehumanised. Installed in Canberra for a few weeks he'd give thinking Canberrans a lot to think about.

He is especially on my mind at the moment because his latest foray, his essay Streets With Nooks and Crannies Are Beloved and Endangered has just popped up online and deals with something dear to my own city-studying heart.

Italian Riviera villages offer intriguing alleys to explore.

Quite well-travelled and familiar with nook-rich cities I've always been struck by Canberra's tragic nooklessness and crannylessness. How often, in our inner city and in suburbia, the strolling wanderer, bored, comes across nothing but the sheer expected.

Sad as this is already one fears it will become worse as the city is increasingly festooned with the sorts of big, brute buildings Sir Roger expresses alarm about in his Streets With Nooks and Crannies.

"Nooks and crannies occur in an ancient town like the endearing wrinkles on an aged face," he muses.

"But how can........

© Canberra Times