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Montague Community Alliance

10 Oct 2019

Montague – learning from others …

I’ve just been in Dubai and Athens and was really interested to see how each city is managing its inner-city development.

Of course, they are very different cities with seriously different cultures, but I could see some similarities with how we are developing in Fishermans Bend and, in particular, the Montague Precinct.

We were fortunate in Athens to have friends who live there, which enabled us to look beyond the tourist sites and briefly immerse ourselves in the local culture.

The most striking thing for us was the amount of people of all ages living right on the edges of the centre of Athens (just like Montague). Most residential buildings are a mix of old and new, built right next to each other … literally, right next to each other. Nearly all had balconies or external areas, such as rooftop gardens, which in the early morning were full of people. I was very struck by how neighbourly people were, even though it is a late-night city with dinner being eaten mostly after 9.30pm, there was little or no noise disturbance from neighbours. There seemed to be a tacit understanding of how to live in very close quarters with a deep respect for other’s space and a real desire for peaceful co-habitation.

The residential buildings were no higher than eight storeys, most were mainly four, and that seemed to be partly why there was strong sense of community. Every block had businesses, shops, cafes and restaurants that were used by locals as well as visitors. The local community were clear about who they were, the history of their community and how to live together. They seemed to be self-regulating and highly community focused.

In Dubai, the community regulations are very clear and well-articulated. There is little or no self-regulation. It is safe and living appears to be very easy, especially for citizens and western ex-pats. Community is based on economics and social standing and is unspoken but clearly defined. There is little or no street community activity and residential areas are either gated compounds, or high-rise up to 40 levels. Meeting your neighbours and interacting with them is based on your status or job rather than your geography. The social connection is strong but is not based around one’s home.

What can we learn from these two very different cities that could assist how we develop a community life here in Montague? Having the safety and ease of life in Dubai, with the vibrant and dynamic sense of community of Athens would be the desired outcome. And with the growth of residential premises continuing a pace, with at least 25 town houses and one new residential tower completed in the next couple of months. We all need to consider how to “make” a community, how to respect each other’s needs and to recognise we have community obligations to care about each other and to create a community, not force one.

We are so fortunate to be able to create a community here in Montague, so let’s do that … please get involved with our community group. We can be contacted on the email below or through Facebook @MontaguePrecinct or Twitter @MontComAlliance.

Thank you.

 

Trisha Avery

Convener - Montague Community Alliance

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