King George’s Sound
Where crystal waters meet ivory sand
Can you hear King George’s Sound?
It is the echo of an unborn city
I am a quiet, hidden place
Few come knowing towers will rise from these soils
Millions will call me home
Albany has a date with Destiny
Painter, in a dream time you swam in my cool waters
You bathed in my beauty
You looked for me, imagined me
A vision was born of an Emerald City
My voice will be heard
I hold a candle to your soul
Tell them my story
Give them a vision of what can be
In the distance, my sister rises in solitude
Victorious in birthright
Perth controls western ambition
Corrupted by power
She underestimates me
I too can shine
Uproot state power from beside the Swan
Cast it deep into the bush
There, plant a servant capital for Western Australia
Power shall be sunbaked, remote, undesirable
A deliberate place of equality
With a heart of Gold,
May it reimagine the West
People of King George’s Sound
Dream of Australia’s hidden future
Imagine me, a world city.
Fear no bold visions
Created in your image
I will embody your values
Here, build a future for your kin
So that they may not be taken away
Free this place of beauty from Perth’s oppressive singularity
Let me rise
Give the world a vision of Utopia
Let them know my name
I am Australian
I am Albany
The painting above, King George’s Sound 2214, features a high resolution satellite photograph of Albany, Western Australia and a large portion of Australia’s Great Southern region. Over the original photograph is painted the imagined, 23rd century future urban sprawl in white and pink acrylic. In gold are traced the roads existing in 2014.
The original image of Albany is featured below. Albany is a relatively small settlement, a large town deep in Western Australia’s countryside. The image below shows Albany (in gray) in 2014 surrounded by vast forrest, farms, bays and ocean.
In the painting, Albany is represented as the stunted, unborn city, pleading for freedom.
About Western Australia
In the field of urban geography the term, urban primacy (aka: sprawl dominance), is used to describe a territory dominated by one urban sprawl. That is, the territory has one city, far larger than any other. Western Australia is one such territory.
Urbanists find that urban primacy usually occurs when the largest city is also the seat of government (aka: capital). Dominant capital cities can indefinitely and subconsciously suppress the growth of other urban sprawls by hoarding tax revenue, justified upon the delusion that the capital is the only location capable of greatness. Perth, Western Australia’s largest city and capital, is a dominant capital.
By contrast, territories with small, peripheral capital cities exhibit more decentralized infrastructure provision, enabling the emergence of multiple urban sprawls, often in areas formerly thought to be inhospitable to cities. For example the capital cities of the US states California, Texas, Florida and New York are Sacramento, Austin, Tallahassee and Albany respectively. That the capitals are not big, famous cities might surprise readers from places where the terms “capital” and “biggest city” are frequently synonymous (e.g. Western Australia).
Western Australia is a territory dominated by its capital. Perth metropolitan region (including Rockingham, Mandurah and Bunbury) is over 24 times larger than the next 2 largest sprawls combined (Kalgoorlie, Geraldton). In the context of cities globally, Perth is extremely dominant.
Despite Western Australia’s enormous size (larger than Alaska), only 1 urban sprawl is emerging there. Environment is the oft cited culprit; however, urbanists familiar with the mechanics of urban primacy would urge close examination of capital city status and its impact on urbanization in Australian states, most of which are dominated by capital cities.
For more about sprawl dominance in Australia visit Australia: The Blank Slate.