Chain-shopped and re-developed into characterless oblivion. I sound like a broken record.
Well here you go, here s my hometown. Right under the splendid, sturdy and proud Victorian structures of 150 years ago, right in the very heart of the town, some fuckwit allowed a tin shed to be vomited up on behalf of Matalan.
No park, no green space, no seats, nothing for the soul, just another chain store retailing the shit some poor school-age child sewed together for three cents an hour somewhere on the other side of the world.
Behind the camera is about half a mile of parking space.
———————–I know Americans aren’t very popular right now in Europe, but one thing the Americans do well these days is civic planning.
I’ve been in the US two years now and I’m amazed at how well the zoning laws (separating commercial, industrial and residential areas from the outset) can work to create a decent, if not rather SimCity-esque place to live.
Ok, so I live in the newer, more affluent part of Southern California, where the cities started with a master-plan from the beginning. Go up to L.A. and you have a bit of a mess.
But what amazes me is that, whilst cynics might say these are boring places to live in, they are pleasant places to live. So fucking pleasant.
And sometimes, city authorities have declined an application to retail from Walmart. Good for them I say. I’m proud that a Walmart is not present in Irvine, CA.
Just this year, also, three adjacent cities, including Irvine, fought for the creation of an enormous park, to be called the Orange County Great Park, to be built following the dismantlement of a massive US Marine Air Base. Some had wanted to turn it into another airport (like we needed one, not), but sense, and public pressure rang out. When was the last time a great park was built in Britain? 1851?
Maybe I should go to Milton Keynes to make a comparison, but I imagine the Brits really could learn a thing or two from the yanks.