Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Village Green Preservation Society

George Monbiot is joining the Village Green Preservation Society or at least he is writing about the importance of green spaces:
One fascinating paper shows that crime rates are also strongly affected by vegetation.
It works the other way too, look at Detroit, crime is so bad that the city is being reclaimed by the wilderness. That's not what Monbiot means of course, he is arguing that village greens and city parks are an exceptionally valuable resource.

He is right of course but the destruction of common lands isn't due to the rapaciousness of developers but because of restrictive planning laws that make it near impossible to build on the green belt and therefore leave builders with no alternative but to develop sites within existing settlements.

If we could build a little bit on what is now low value farmland we could paradoxically give far more people access to greenery.


Macheath said...

Monbiot's city parks don't seem to have helped in Villeneuve, Grenoble (courtesy of Anna Raccoon).

Joseph Takagi said...

Lefty greens have been saying this for years. The fact is that it's completely the wrong way around. Leafy avenues, and houses around parks are expensive because of the facilities, therefore wealthier (non-criminal) types tend to live near them.

If you put trees up in the worst area of your town, the hooligans would bring them down in a matter of days.

Mark Wadsworth said...


JT makes a good point, but what he overlooks is that even in the 'worst' areas, it's only about five or ten per cent of the residents who are real scum. Why shouldn't the other 90-95% have somewhere nice to live?

Which can be easily achieved by relocating the real scum to ex-army barracks in the middle of nowhere and having nicer play grounds, parks etc where the low-income-but-law-abiding-people live.

Joseph Takagi said...


I didn't mean to tar all the poor with the brush of hooliganism. Sorry if my sentence didn't make that clear. But there are enough ill-disciplined hooligans in poor areas that this would happen.

Your suggestion is, of course, what used to happen to people long before the welfare state. Lazy trouble makers were kicked off the Lord's estates if they behaved badly.

SadButMadLad said...

The planning system is also why land prices are so high. Yes we are a small island. Yes we have over 60m people living on this piece of rock. But when you fly over this green and pleasent land you'll find that it is still very green. Most people are squeezed into towns and cities which can't expand. We aren't a farming nation anymore and anyway, agriculture has advanced a lot so that it needs less land to grow more. There is still a lot of unused land available for building. It's only the green fluffies who want the countryside to look "pretty" who are stopping this from happening. By the way, the pretty countryside is ALL manmade and maintained by man so its not natural. Also, farms are industrial factories, so if a ugly barn crops up, no one shold be able to say that it shouldn't be built - they are effectively stopping someone from running their business.

Ross said...

SBML- The countryside is manmade as you say, if we returned the UK to a state of nature most of us would be living in a forest.