Banksy's work is not respected by plumbers.
While some of our lanes are graffiti art canvases, some are just filled with tables and chairs for outdoor dining. Others have tiny doorways to both tiny and large bars. I believe Laneway Culture was coined to describe what happens in our lanes. For mine, Laneway Culture is overrated, but still, it is a useful word. Somewhat behind Melbourne, Sydney is developing its own Laneway Culture.
Melbourne's lanes have been a very important part of our city. When Hoddle drew up his grid of our city streets, it was insisted by others that the lanes be added. Major thoroughfares are perfect for getting briskly from one part of town to another, but lanes are for wandering, looking around and discovering. City or inner suburbs, if I have the time and there is a lane, I will use it in preference to a street.
The lanes do rather get in the way of developers though. They like to acquire the space to make even larger developments. When Lonsdale House was tragically demolished so too did Calendonian Lane next to it disappear. It will come back though, bigger, to allow large trucks delivery access to whatever is built there. Perhaps this is what Lord Mayor Doyle recreating lanes post or during development. I am not sure how our Lord Mayor imagines history is recreated. Some of the appeal of our lanes is that they are not sterile and neat. The destruction of Calendonian Lane was purely profit motivated.
What to do to save our lanes? Well, you can sign a petition. It is worth going to the site just to see photos of very different laneways to the one I have included in this post. Have a peruse. Click on this following link. http://www.melbourneheritage.org.au/laneways/ Melbourne Heritage Action operates with the support of the National Trust Australia (Victoria).
I'll finish with this snip from an email I received, '
Current policies only concern pedestrian access and only fully protects
about 10 laneways from being lost – the other 80% of the laneways could
be sold or have their character destroyed. Most of the little warehouse
buildings that are home to the ‘hidden’ laneways bars and clubs are not
protected at all. Recently a whole section of ACDC lane wall was
demolished, to be replaced by a grid of apartment balconies. '