So this is the more informal part of my blog. More akin to the traditional blog – train of thoughts and personal takes on events in the news or just random day to day events that make me think. So no great insights I’m afraid, just things that take my fancy. So if you are following my blog, I hope that you find it interesting, if not educational.
How many people in a town before it stops being a community?
As the sun was shining I thought I would nip out for a brisk walk around a couple of the housing estates in Bracknell. I ended up doing a 5k walk around two of Bracknell’s housing estates, one brand new, situated on a former green space, the other one originating from the establishment of Bracknell as a new town in the 1960s. Although I passed several people on the way round and nodded and said Good Morning, I received only one acknowledgement. The rest either walked on by or studiously avoided eye contact. This is in marked contrast to Edgmond and Newport in Shropshire, where I spend my working week. There not only do people nod and say hello, many even engage you in conversation. This takes me back to my youth in the 1960s and 1970s when we were taught that it was rude to pass someone without acknowledging their presence.
Bracknell has a population of just over 50 000, Newport has just over 11 000, Edgmond, just over 1 500. Edgmond is where the inhabitants engage you in conversation. When Bracknell was designated a New Town, a number of estates, each with its own school, shopping centre, sub-library and medical centre and populations of around 5 000. According to older inhabitants when it was first built there was a community feel to the area, but this, despite the efforts of a few stalwarts, my wife included, who runs a Community Band, does not seem to be the case anymore. Perhaps it is because many of the inhabitants work elsewhere, London, Reading and Slough, or is it because there are just too many people from too many different backgrounds? Or is it just another sign of the great North-South divide? The village my mother lives in, Kirk Hammerton, in North Yorkshire, has 517 inhabitants and they all say hello. Does anyone out there have some real data?