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Archive for the ‘cities’ Category

what Haringey thinks is my local area

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One of the things that Haringey Council send us is the Haringey People “Local News” magazine for  Northumberland Park and White Hart Lane.

I largely disinterestedly flicked through the last one, none of the stories particularly catching my attention.

At the back was a nice little map of the area that shed light on my disinterest. This was clearly labelled “your local map” and helpfully explained “your local neighbourhood has been highlighted on the map of the borough”.

What Haringey thinks is my local area

But I don’t really go places in either of the two wards that Haringey has decided are my local area. My house is there (and my allotment!) but tube/rail stations, doctors, dentist, pubs, restaurants, shops, post office, parks, supermarkets and actual markets, vets, garden centres are all in other wards.  Even my bus stop isn’t technically in *my* ward.

Partly this tells us that these wards are pretty deprived, even by Haringey’s standards. Not just financially but culturally. There’s not a lot of reasons for me to venture deeper into my own ward.

Another part of the problem is the print medium. Online they could have defined local in a circle around my location rather than relying on political boundaries. A circle would have been better but would still have a included a lot of space to the north that I’m not particularly interested in.

Local for me is stretched in a particular shape. That shape is formed by the gravitational pull of transport links into London (i.e to the south), the facilities available in the wealthier west of the borough but also by the cheap shops and restaurants further south.

I actually wanted to read the newsletters from all the six other local areas and not my own. Thanks to the internet I can but the glossy magazine is going to be rather a waste.

Written by Karen

June 7th, 2010 at 6:34 am

Posted in cities,town planning

crime documentary that avoids the usual moral panic

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The Violent Highway is unusual for TV programmes about violent crime. Instead of an unquestioning “everything is getting worse” angle, the documentary instead looks at crime past and present, through the device of a single London street.

“the film recreates key incidents taken from 300 years of muggings, wife-beatings, pub brawls and serial killings. Historians, psychologists, residents of The Highway and former gang members discuss whether we are more or less violent than we used to be, and what this street can reveal about the violence in all of us.”

At one point the narrator starts the usual hackneyed point about how violent modern TV and video games are, but this only leads into Steven Pinker pointing out how we take pleasure in the violence in  Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, and in murder mysteries too.

BBC Two Programmes – The Violent Highway

Written by Karen

May 22nd, 2009 at 7:45 pm

slow down London

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Later this month will be a London event I feel like I can get involved in (unlike the G20 protests…what was it they wanted again?)

Slow Down London is a ten day festival that sets out to encourage Londoners to  improve their lives by slowing down to do things well.

Also coincidently discovered Academic Earth this week, kind of Ted talks but with guaranteed PhDs. In Paul Bloom’s lecture “The Good Life” he refers to two solutions to the hedonistic treadmill: keep doing different things or just get off the treadmill.

The Slow Down folks want to get off.

Written by Karen

April 2nd, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Posted in cities,happiness,speed

David Gauntlett’s inaugural lecture

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I’m hugely looking forward to David Gauntlett’s inaugural lecture on 12th November.

“The particular significance of Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision is that it involved people making and sharing things – all users as contributors, not just readers. Thus began the shift from the ‘mass audience’ towards creative individuals and communities. David Gauntlett has had a long engagement with the Web, having produced the award-winning website Theory.org.uk for over a decade. Several years before the rise of ‘Web 2.0’, he was writing about the Web as a creative and collaborative playground of everyday culture, politics, and self-expression. He has continued to embed an interest in the Web with broader research about creativity and ways to engage people in social research and social issues.

Gauntlett considers these themes in the context of a broader growth in home-made culture, craft, recycling and remaking, which connects with environmental issues, transition towns and cities, and therefore – in one grand bound – the future of the planet. He will argue that this making-and-sharing culture may foster the ‘tools for thinking’ which will be required to solve social and environmental problems.”

The wine reception is all ‘sold out’ but that’s not the best bit, is it? Register for the free lecture here http://www.12november.org.uk/.

Written by Karen

October 13th, 2008 at 6:40 am

Posted in cities,craft,digital

londoners angry about grants to make them happier

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I read yesterday in London Lite that £14 million from the National Lottery has been awarded to two projects with the aim of making London a happier place.

Today in London Lite the letters page is full of outrage:

“why don’t they just make a big bonfire out of the notes? Same effect”

“what a stupid idea. Why do they think that wasting more and more money on things like this is a good idea. Londoners are miserable – no amount of cash will make them smile!”

“what a way to waste money. Throwing cash at this initiative is about as worthwhile as flushing it down the toilet. People aren’t suddenly going to be happy because someone shows them how to plant vegetables, it’s much deeper than that.”

I’m guessing that the last correspondent never saw Making Slough Happy or read any of psychologist Dr Richard Stevens’ research. One of the ten steps to happiness listed in the programme was “plant something and nurture it”.

The two schemes are Well London and Active 8 London, run by the Peabody Trust, a charitable housing association.

Well London projects include:

  • schemes to make it easier to buy quality, cheap, local food
  • cook and eat clubs to increase rates of healthy eating
  • training local people with direct experience of mental ill health to deliver mental health awareness training
  • using the arts and cultural activity to improve environments and provide accessible physical activities
  • increasing physical activity levels through increasing the range of sports and active recreation activities available to the community

Active 8 London plans to set up:

  • food days to broaden people’s understanding of nutrition
  • gardening schemes to show high-rise residents how to grow their own vegetables
  • a week of events and workshops that will address common mental health problems
  • the Fifty-Five Alive Club that will lead social activities for older people
  • a project that will provide exercise sessions and advice in women only environments
  • Pukka Tukka, which is a project to encourage single men off takeaways and processed foods and show them how to make healthy, fresh meals on a budget

So you can see why the correspondents are so disgruntled. Projects to encourage us to eat better and exercise more, what a terrible waste of money. After all £14 million does seem like a lot of money.

Amongst the information to support Well London’s bid is the fact that “ten per cent of people over the age of 65 are malnourished and account for approximately half of the £7.3 billion per year that malnutrition costs the UK.” Which isn’t the sort of information that London Lite has room for.

£7.3 billion? Now, that is a lot of money.

Written by Karen

July 19th, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Posted in cities,food,psychology