Proper Planning Prevents Pitiful Places for People

Britain has a long standing policy of plan led development to make sure that a presumption in favour of land owners developing their land as they wish is tempered with the impact of the wishes and needs of others.
Every decade or so local planning authorities decide how much development and what sort of development their area needs and then produce maps of where they would wish such development to take place.
Inevitably plans are controversial. Change is uncomfortable – but inevitable. Plans allow for the wider, positive and negative, impacts of new developments to be anticipated and the worst errors avoided while minimising the chances of opportunities being missed.
People living in an area have long had a voice in agreeing local plans – through formal and informal consultation. While that voice may be heard, it is not always listened to.
As a country we can have pretty much anything we want. But we cannot have it everywhere and we cannot have everything. Negotiation, compromise, altruism and mutual understanding can give power not only to our elbow but also to our collective voice.

Neighbourhood matters

Good morning.
Haven’t seen you in ages.
How are you?
Lovely day.
Got to dash.

Jesus pointed to the actions of the good Samaritan as exemplifying the actions of a neighbour.

Now the clocks have ‘sprung forward’ many of us have emerged from a winter hibernation and are rediscovering the pleasure of an early evening stroll. Strolls when we bump into neighbours we haven’t seen since… well since the clocks fell back last October.

Conversations like the one above are but a start.
See you at church, in the pub at the game
We must get together for lunch, a coffee
Did you know that so and so are getting married?
Have you met the lovely couple who moved into number 23?
I’ve been meaning to ask…

But these conversations are not as random as they seem. They happen because our streets have safe pavements, our open spaces have public footpaths. These were planned and are maintained for us. They create the physical space where we can bump into each other and pass the time of day.

We live in a ‘place’ that splices people and environment. A place that is unique because the space and the people are unique.

And that is what makes where we live a neighbourhood.