Dialogues with the city.
Working on Gadigal Country.
Datu Architecture + Urbanism is a design, research and consultancy practice led by Dr Kerwin Datu RAIA, a registered architect as well as a qualified urban and economic geographer. The following is a repository of written articles and urban planning propositions produced by the practice.
There is a mismatch between the rhetoric surrounding Western Sydney and the actual spatial structure of the region. Part of the problem may be that we simply don’t know how to visualise the scale of Western Sydney, the distances between the investments being made and their imagined beneficiaries. Read
From 2014 to 2020, the gender pay gap in Australia’s architectural services worsened slightly, from men being paid on average 28.7% over average women’s salaries in 2014, to men being paid 29.4% over in 2020, according to figures compiled by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), meaning that on average women working in architecture must… Read
Architects propose buildings. That is our job. And in an alarming number of contexts, it is becoming the wrong thing to do. Coastal homes falling into the sea. Bushfires consuming whole towns. Taps running dry inland. In the cities, office towers for staff who won’t return. Road and rail projects for commuting patterns that have… Read
This postscript offers some preliminary observations on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic interacts with geographies of local governments. It was written in the middle of April 2020, a fortnight in which Australians had begun to believe that we had “flattened the curve” and could begin to debate how social distancing measures should be eased.… Read
The geographical study of local government is fundamental to understanding how questions of power, politics, and public services play out across individual places and communities within a nation or state. Because of the contingent nature of local government in Australia, its study also provides a window into the power and politics of state governments. For… Read
It is always disappointing to hear architects express their resentment towards continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. It is even more frustrating to hear architects ask how the CPD activities they undertake can ‘get accredited’, since this is a sign of just how much confusion exists in the profession about CPD and how much potential is… Read
Designing the Global City is an invaluable history and analysis of the City of Sydney’s Competitive Design Policy (CDP) as applied within the central business district (CBD) between 2001 and 2017. A full one-third of the book is given to placing the policy in a broad series of contexts: design excellence as the driver, design… Read
Many initiatives for mental health in the workplace seem to me almost exclusively focused on work-related stress and how to relieve it, as if to hope that our duty of care on mental illness might be discharged by the right tweaks to corporate cultures and HR policies. The industry seems largely unaware of the distinction… Read
The question is: should we abolish spot rezoning? And the answer is: yes. The public of NSW is suffering from shell shock, from a construction boom it was not braced for, and which has left its cities disfigured. Architects shrink from some of the connections but for much of the wider public the products of… Read
Following in the footsteps of an increasingly complex procurement regime is the question of who gets the credit. Major NSW government projects including transport, stadiums, museums and hospitals involve at least two stages of design procurement very often awarded to different design teams. The same can be true for large projects procured by corporate and… Read
John Harrison and Michael Hoyler’s edited volume Doing Global Urban Research asks how empirical research can be done on subjects that are both urban and global. The emphasis is on the “global”—how do the methods and practices of empirical urban research change once the subject takes on a global dimension? Over the past 20 years,… Read
What is Circular Quay? Reading the contributions of Peter John Cantrill and Ken Maher to this edition of Architecture Bulletin, we see it as an accumulation of urban and architectural choices made and not made by design professionals, as well as government agencies and private undertaking. Seen in historical perspective, all these choices are still… Read
Although one of the core questions in the study of multinational enterprises (MNEs) has been typically that of where their different operations take place, the spatial dimension of MNE investments and functions is still relatively underexplored in the literature. This paper investigates the networks formed by Foreign Direct… Read
This study of migrants’ settlement into the London area as captured by the latest, 2011 census adopts two approaches to demonstrate a nuanced concentric pattern in the location of migrants from different parts of the world. First, the differentiation of migrants into stylised categories of “rich-country” and “poor-country” migrants reveals distinct patterns of settlement for… Read
When we think about the architecture of the global city, often we have in our mind’s eye a certain kind of rather spectacular imagery, which may entail crystalline skyscrapers, luxurious residential complexes, rich cultural buildings or works of breathtaking avant-garde design. The discourses surrounding these kinds of architecture can be equally spectacular, studded with vocabulary… Read
In March 2011, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) completed a major review of its multilateral aid, which resulted in it pulling funding from a number of organisations, including UN-HABITAT. DFID wanted to focus on organisations that offered the UK taxpayer ‘good’ or ‘very good’ ‘value for money’ based on existing achievements. This meant… Read