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The Urban Sprawl Project Update

I'm not religious in any shape or form, but I love the image below.

The sign is found in Blacktown, the one time border town of Sydney. Used to be that you drove out of Blacktown, you were leaving Sydney well and truly behind, but it's no longer the case. The Blue Mountains are that divide now. However, after years of neglect, of being told it was the one stop crime and drug central of the city (a title it lost about fifteen years ago to Cabramatta) Blacktown is now trying to rebuilt itself into a mini metropolis. Looks like it's postal address should be Iraq right now: roads cornered off, planks of wood over pot holes, old buildings pulled down into rubble, new ones half built, and a line of scaffolding on the horizon like Blacktown's skeleton has been torn open and the survivors are living in the remains.

You find this sign down past the car park of the train station, next to the nasty squat brown brick building that you go into for unemployment and health care cards and so forth. Inside that building, there are posters of ethnic families: smiling Aborigines, frolicking Asians, dependable Middle Eastern citizens, and so on and so forth. You've never seen a bunch of happier ethnic families than in the Family Planning Office in Blacktown. Couldn't say that about anyone who actually enters the building, mind you. Ten years ago, when I first entered the Unemployment Office, which is on the floor below Family Planning, I was out of High School and without any idea what I'd do. Within half an hour, I found myself in front of a woman in her late twenties who told me, "You've bring nothing to the work force. The kind of jobs I can get you are in factories and shopping centres. I can get you an interview with a hardware store today."





This livejournal (blog) has been picking up traffic of late. Since November, traffic has doubled, which is neat, though I find myself a bit baffled as to why, exactly. Still, I've seen a few people linking the Urban Sprawl Project to their blogs, and if you're one of those people, and would like me to return the favour, send me an email or drop the link into the comments here. Apparently I can keep non livejournal links down the side.

New bits of the world include: Costa Rica, Uruguay, and France. Well, I think France is new. It might not be. Still cool though.

Comments

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kixxa
Jan. 29th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC)
Hey, a hardware shop is heaven compared to the job of peeling onions for an onion factory the CES offered me. You lucky bugger.

benpeek
Jan. 29th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
well, that sounds like a pretty shit job. slightly worse than selling people hammers and nails, i grant you.

both are pretty shit, though. ways to keep the working class kids working class.
kixxa
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, I reckon you're right about knocking aspirations out of working class kids. At the time though, I saw it as a random act of cruelty by a total stranger.
benpeek
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:58 am (UTC)
yeah, i saw it the same. there's nothing helpful in telling someone they're a waste of space and won't go anywhere.
drjon
Jan. 29th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
> This livejournal (blog) has been picking up traffic of late. Since November, traffic has doubled...

How are you measuring this?
davidcook
Jan. 29th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC)
Appears to be a counter from prostats.co.uk, at the bottom of the page. Hmmm, I must learn how to modify styles enough to do that for myself :-)
benpeek
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
i had a friend help me out, but there's a livejournal forum for putting in counters. the only downside is you can't have java in it, so you miss some of the features.
benpeek
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
counter.

i'm figuring you got to factor in bots, but it's easy to monitor the ispns. numbers are picking up only those who hit the actual livejournal, and not read from the friends list. depending on how many actually read on their friends list, and how many scan, the number would increase, natch. but there' sno way to monitor this.
drjon
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
Ah yes. Ta. Hmm... What's the lj community you mention?
benpeek
Jan. 29th, 2005 05:33 am (UTC)
http://www.livejournal.com/users/howto/

there's a heap there, so you might have to search a bit, but i'm pretty sure this is where i found it at.
drjon
Jan. 30th, 2005 02:44 am (UTC)
Ta.
jack_ryder
Jan. 31st, 2005 12:52 am (UTC)
I remember this sign from Blacktown (having lived there for a couple of years.) There's a bizarre feeling to Blacktown, many semi-abandoned buildings and arcades. Once I was walking my mother to the station and every one who passed us was deformed or disabled in some way. Must be what life in Innsmouth is like.
benpeek
Jan. 31st, 2005 03:03 am (UTC)
yeah, that whole abandoned and empty feel is still there. might change after some of the construction finishes, but i think it's going to take a whole generation to wash away the myths hanging in the place.
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