A Small Plea for Help

A Small Plea for Help

Amy January 8, 2008


And there we have it.

Back to work and already knee deep in University assignments. It is here I turn to you dear reader, for your help in my quest to make it through to August without spending time on a ward wearing a long sleeved overcoat that fastens at the back…

My latest task involves writing a presentation to do ‘density’. You see, the government in their efforts to make/keep England ‘Green’ have decided the best way to accommodate all of the extra housing we need is to intensify the use of land – i.e. build houses a bit closer together, in terraces or apartment blocks. Living with lots of people around you has – in the past – generally been viewed as a bad thing, especially when people think back to some of the badly designed tower blocks in the 1960’s with high levels of crime or the neglected rows of terraced houses typical in more deprived areas.

There are however also supposed advantages to ‘high density living’ – it seemes to work for people in Belgravia and the posher bits of london for example who’s residents seem to like living closer to shops, public transport, lap dancings club and other fine cultural activities. You see there are stacks of people all bundled together in London which make things like these financially viable – and as many of my friends would argue, they can be seen to enjoy a better standard of living with such facilities.

So here is my big ask…

As part of my presentation I wanted to include a random poll of people who have been asked the question:

What do you think about high density living? Is it a good or bad thing?

Such examples include a lot of new housing estates built recently, terraced homes are considered high density, apartment blocks etc.

I was going to take a quick survey at work, but they’re all planners here and their answers would be long winded and boring. Instead I was wondering whether you may be so kind as to drop your thoughts into my comment box and star in a much acclaimed, bound to be oscar nominated, Masters Degree presentation?

As an extra incentive I will also be holding a prize draw for all entries, where one lucky someone will be picked at random from my comment box on 15th January and will be sent a mystery gift – a mystery becasue I haven’t thought what it might be yet!

Aren’t you excited!?!?

Thanks very much in advance to anyone who can spare me a bit of time! Extra Karma points for you!

Disclaimer: Please don’t call me with your answer as I am still learning to use my new phone and might cut you off by accident. Otherwise calls are free for some people with inclusive network minutes or charged according to your network if (bless you) you still use credit. Names will not be used as part of the presentation and so your comments will remain anonymous. A commentor will be invited to any award ceremony resultant of this presentation. The prize draw will be a fair one as it will not involve either Phil, Fern or some goon from Blue Peter. The draw will be carried out by an external invidulator at 9:00am or whenever Neil can be bothered to get up. Not suitable for Children under 36 months. Never leave a candle unattended.


5 thoughts on “A Small Plea for Help

  1. I wouldn’t proclame myself an expert, but I have lived in high density living (according to your defintion) all my life. This therefore might be a little unhelpful as I don’t have a good contrast but here goes!
    Christine and I started life in a high rise flat in Portsmouth living with Mum, Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie Kerry – i don’t have many memories but I know it was almost a killer – Christine was nearly crushed in her cot when the tenants above our flat were doing some building work and a concrete slab went through the celing and landed in Christine’s cot as she slept. She was a tiny baby so was at the right end.

    Dad came along and we lived in a three bed small council house in Leigh Park until I was 18. It was great though – I then moved on to a campsite, had a bried stint in Nepal (very low density living!) and then moved to Pompey living in two flats whilst at uni (not at the same time). Helen and I got our flat in Bethnal Green and now our flat in Hounslow. We are moving to Leyton because we have always felt that Hounslow is like a weird suburb – too far from the centre of London to feel like london but crime ridden and busy like any London borough should be. High density living is fine if you understand one thing – people can, with a moments notice, enhance or destroy your quality of life. We visit a guy in our building really regularly and have a fantastic relationship with him – he looks after Allie, we water his plants and lots of randoms coffee/alcohol themed random spontanous get togethers. Then there is the guy above us…..
    Crime too is something that is always on our mind – as my mum said “the more people there are, the more bad apples” – lucky enough that neither of us have been the victims of crime (other then my bike and my scooter were stolen and a TFL bus leaving the scene of the accident with my skoda) it does have a fear factor element making you think twice about things.
    Mindful of all this, Helen and I discussed the idea of moving to a house in a ‘quieter’ area (of london) where not everything is on your doorstep – this had a lot to do with everyone buying houses and we felt that’s what we should do too. We soon recognised at what expence this would be at for us and decided we have plenty of friends that have houses we can stay at when we feel the need for space but quite frankly we love the lifestyle on offer to us. I can’t think of a better place to raise a family then London – espacilly when I hear about all the things Helen did when she grew up. One day, I do imagine Helen and I in a house – and we joke about that day as we need walkie talkies because anything with more then 2 bedrooms would cause us to loose each other. We did have a great holiday in Wales this year – marvelled at the cottage’s space saving lay-out, enjoyed the complete peace and quiet that took a lot of getting use too (I get scarred of the zombie risk).

    Hope that’s helpful – happy to chat about it further with you!

  2. The place we used to live in Coventry was on a new estate, and we were overlooked by 3-storey houses, had views in to other people’s windows on all sides, and there was absolutely no sense of community at all. Saying hello to someone as you got in your car to go to work was often responded to by them hastily jamming the key in to their car door as quick as they could and tearing off up the road to avoid any further conversation.
    Problem was that people just lived there because the houses were shiney and new. They weren’t well built, well designed, or centred around any facilities other than a bit of grass where footballers would occasionally kick a football around whilst avoiding dog poo. Therefore, nobody had any reason to go out and get to know people, and nobody ever looked out for anyone else.

    If I had a choice, I’d live in the middle of nowhere, miles from anyone or anything. People (by and large) are idiots and I don’t have the time or patience to deal with them.
    I don’t mind about not being able to pop to the shops for that missing ingredient, or the convenience of having an indian takeaway within walking distance. If I have a need or want to travel for something, then I will. I don’t think jamming people in to smaller spaces makes for a better community. If anything, it probably makes matters worse because people just don’t have their space.

  3. Modern high density living seems to be an extension of the old terraces and tenements. It would be interesting to know what proportion of people these days live in high density accommodation against 100 or 200 years ago. I suspect more people are living in high density housing now, but I could be wrong.

    I think the impact of the wider community is significant in high density areas. I’ve lived in terraced housing in Lancaster and still do here down south, but both areas have very different feels to them, possibly due to the economic background of the area. I think that when people live in an area because it’s all they can afford they naturally don’t value it highly. If they have worked hard and taken a big mortgage to live in an area which holds some appeal for them (and assuming others in the area feel the same) the quality of life in that area is higher.

  4. Good and bad, but then i’m not one for simple dualisms. People need space: room to think; room to breath; room to express themselves; space to be alone. So, as long as high density housing doesn’t deny these things then it could be a good thing.

    Similarly, if housing density is to be increased infrastructure needs to be increased in equal measure in order for things to a) work to begin with and b) so there is a bit of variety i.e. not everyone in an area goes to the same shop, school or pub.

Leave a Reply