Behind the Village Cinema

A rejuvenated Cat and Fiddle

The Hobart Rivulet, the source of freshwater for Aboriginal people and early settlers, flows beneath the streets of the city, out of sight and mind.  Linking Mount Wellington with the Derwent River, the Rivulet is an unrealised asset that could be more than the stormwater conduit it has become ... if we thought outside the box. 

Hard on the heels of Jan Gehl’s report about revitalisation of the CBD of Hobart, University of Minnesota Master of Landscape Architecture Student, Tiffani Navratil has published her ‘capstone’ project Re-Envisioning Urban Waterways as a Catalyst for Social Rejuvenation - The Rivulet, Hobart, Tasmania.

Tiffani says, I wanted to answer questions such as “What if the Rivulet’s waters were clean? What if we could see it more readily and engage more fully with it?  What if we could move along the Rivulet as part of our daily lives? What if it were a parkway, not a drain?”  The result of a year’s work, based around at three month residency with local landscape architects, Inspiring Place, Tiffani explored these and other questions about the Rivulet. 

Tiffani says that “As a student, I was able to leap past the often contentious debate about the public realm in Hobart to explore the possibilities for a rejuvenated Rivulet. Such freedoms are not given to professionals, so I pushed past these constraints to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems and found there are exciting ways to achieve a dream of an activated waterway through the CBD.”

Jerry de Gryse, Landscape Architect with Inspiring Place says, that “Tiffani’s work is thorough in its investigations, exquisitely illustrated and thoughtfully considered,  Her examination of the ‘stacked social benefits’ that arise when the Rivulet is seen as providing opportunities for transport, pedestrian connectivity, play, landscaping, economy, residence and health and well-being is thought-provoking.  Instead of burying or turning the City’s back to the Rivulet Tiffani has explored opening it up, imagining urban plazas, amphitheatres, even an underground night club along its length from Molle Street to the waterfront.  Her visionary ideas are balanced by realistic solutions to water quality improvements, flood management and safety.” 

Tiffani’s project received honours from the University of Minnesota. Professor of Landscape Architecture, John Koepke said “Tiffani’s project was the strongest of the year across context, design, graphics and oral presentation.” 
Mr de Gryse concludes, “Tiffani is to be congratulated for making the effort to come to Hobart to study and for offering us her vision of a bolder, enlivened city centre where the Rivulet runs freer and its clean waters are once again at the centre of our urban life.”

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