Monday, March 20, 2006


A while ago, Kevin Harris commented on the virtues of the cul-de-sac in cultivating a balance between neighbourliness and the desire for privacy.

A more recent post on his blog reminds me of the time that I lived in a kind-of cul-de-sac.

It was a little close that featured a couple of blocks of early-1960s Council flats and some semi-detached houses. The only traffic was to-and-from those dwellings and they all overlooked a large round green patch - about 30m in diameter. It was great for people with kids - they could let them out to play in a place where there were no fast-moving cars, and they would always be in view. A reasonable game of footie or cricket for 4-5 kids could be played.

But then, one day, a few vocal old gits complained to the Council. Shortly afterwards, a bit 'No Ball Games' sign was erected on a metal post in the middle of the green, effectively making most games impossible.

I know that it's impossible to prove this, but my perception of the area is that it went downhill after that. There was less of a sense of neighbourliness and it felt less safe. Parents were no longer keeping an eye on the whole close and the sense of desertion was apparent.

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