Brisbane’s lord mayor has rejected a philosopher’s claims that the city is ugly, saying it is one of the fastest growing, ‘hippest’ cities in Australia.
Brisbane’s lord mayor has defended his “hip” city from a world-leading philosopher’s claim that no one likes the Queensland capital’s “chaotic ugliness”.
UK author and television presenter Alain de Botton has singled out Brisbane as a modern city where taste is not relative – a place universally considered ugly.
He said cities like Paris in France, Siena in Italy and Bath in England were all renowned for their beauty because they were architecturally planned.
But he said Brisbane’s planners had had no interest in making the city attractive, adding they got away with “some truly terrible construction projects”.
“No one looks at the waterfront of Brisbane … and feels deeply moved by the grace and sweetness of the scene,” Mr de Botton wrote in his blog, The Philosophers’ Mail.
“While most people find the centre of Paris wonderful and others will delight in the winding streets of Siena, no one on the planet responds deeply to the brutal cross city expressway and chunky stained brown office blocks of the city.”
Mr de Botton said Brisbane’s many planning restrictions – like the distance between street lamps, where electrical cables must be located or how tall a building can be – addressed health and safety issues, but overlooked aesthetics.
“So the result is chaotic ugliness – which no one likes,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has dismissed the article, saying residents are proud of their city, which will host G20 world leaders in November.
“GQ Magazine and Lonely Planet got it right when they said that Brisbane is the hippest city in Australia,” he said.
“Brisbane truly is one of the few cities in the world that has everything.”
Mr de Botton is in Brisbane and will discuss his latest book at the University of Queensland’s Kelvin Grove campus on Friday night.