Museum's eye on future

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum visitor host Janine Bruce ties another museum visitor's vision for the future of Dunedin to the 'Future City' exhibition. Photo by Tim Miller.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum visitor host Janine Bruce ties another museum visitor's vision for the future of Dunedin to the 'Future City' exhibition. Photo by Tim Miller.
It seems Dunedin residents have eclectic views when it comes to pondering the future of the city they live in.

For the past year, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum has been asking residents and visitors their thoughts on the future of the city and the importance of heritage and environmental sustainability.

The surveys were part of the museum's ''Future City'' exhibition, which looks at how Dunedin might develop.

More than 4000 people answered the questions with responses ranging from keeping the streets clean to a new pool in Mosgiel.

Some of the more extravagant responses called for a zoo or a theme park to be built in Dunedin, while others had more practical ideas, such as more cycleways.

One resident, apparently not a fan of public art, wanted the controversial harbour molars to be removed.

Exhibition developer William McKee said it was unusual for a museum to focus on the future but the project had been very positive.

''There is a lot of relevant stuff which people have put down which is what the point of the exhibition is - to get people thinking.''

The project also gives a view of public opinion throughout the year.

There were spikes in people writing about the waterfront hotel or the cycleway plans and, more recently, offshore drilling.

''They really come and go in waves, so you can see what the big issue people were talking about at the time was.''

Once all the responses were collated they would go back on display, Mr McKee said.

They would also be handed to the Dunedin City Council, to be used in its second-generation planning, Mr McKee said.

''While it can't be used for official purposes, it does give a really good insight into what people are actually think and talking about,'' Mr McKee said.

 

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