Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pythagoras theorem of road naming

Heritage and archaeology consultants often see the process of change in the landscape when development occurs. We occasionally can be party to the detailed internal workings and decision making processes. For example, naming streets is often a critical element of marketing a new estate. Names that entice new residents meet complex council and Geographic Place Names Register requirements, and help give the neighbourhood a sense of place are very important. Some connection to the existing and past history of the area is sometimes also sought, including Aboriginal place names, in order to respect the local history. Or else the names of the developers' children are used. However, often unrelated or just weird names get through the system, such as Kilkenny Road in the Southpark industrial estate. (this was intentional)

One oddity is Pythagoras St in Epping. During the design stage, a new road was proposed running off Harvest Home Road at an angle. This would form the third side of a triangle. The road engineer referred to it as the hypotenuse road, and this became the working name for the street. Somewhere along the way Hypotenuse Street morphed into Pythagoras Street. In the mean time, the original section of Harvest Home Road that formed the first side of the triangle was removed and open space created in its place, making the initial concept redundant. Pythagoras Street might at least still acknowledge the many Greek Island immigrants who made the Epping area their home in the 1950s. (Pythagoras was born on Samos)

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