Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

PROGRESS | Ride on … the year of the horse …


Under John’s supervision, Harbinger has made significant progress on the North Lakes Bus Station Public Art Project. Recently, artist Leah King-Smith applied her artwork to spheres installed at the site. Using an angle-grinder, she etched designs into the mirrored finish of the spheres. These patterns acknowledge and reference the cultural and natural history of the site. Each design is created and ‘drawn’ by the artist, resulting in hand-drawn bespoke images marking the industrially produced spheres. The images are purposely subtle, creating small disruptions on the otherwise smooth mirrored surface of the spheres.


After working on site and observing interactions with the spheres, the project team decided not to apply an image to the largest sphere.

“We were watching people walk up to it to shoot selfies and walk around it, so it seemed that people had already established a relationship with the largest sphere,” John said. “Applying an image would have changed that, so we felt it was important to respect what had emerged in the short time the work had been in situ.”

This highlights the importance of flexibility when possible and the need to consider how relationships with built forms and landscape elements evolve. This project presented a rare opportunity because the work was installed in stages and this meant reactions to and interactions with the work in progress could be observed. Other works have also been installed at the Bus Station including screening around a utilities building and images on the sandstone wall.

As we noted earlier, Linda’s postgraduate research is well underway with a coherent research proposal having been finalised. This research will investigate the implications for urban governance of intergovernmental actant dynamics and narratives emerging from infrastructure decision-making in South East Queensland, with reference two case studies. In order to understand this, the research will focus on the intergovernmental dynamics of infrastructure governance as revealed through interviews and a critical review of media reports and documentary sources. Because decision making is complex, discourses such as ‘dysfunctional federalism’ and ‘lack of transparency or trust’, as recently reported in the media, warrant more analysis from a governance and policy perspective.

The decision making process, while supported by robust technical and economic documentation, may not, in itself, be so readily understood given its complexity and ‘fuzziness’. Therefore a complexity lens is required. In order to improve the governance of infrastructure, we need to understand the complexity of what happens in the decision making and policy space. This research aims to contribute to a better understanding of governance processes and practices of urban infastructure and planning.


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