Friday, October 14, 2011

2011 Streak Day 266 (Monday Sept 26th): Public and private space

2011 Streak Day 266 (Monday Sept 26th): Walk - 3 miles , Time -1hr Weather - drizzly to start but the grey clouds were later blown away to be replaced with whiter clouds and patches of blue

If I wasn't trying to record so form of exercise each day I would have paid no attention to today's walking. It was just there and back, there and back, around Watford, running some errands and visiting the hospital. Nothing much to report.
I did however spot a notice in the shopping centre forbidding photography. It reminded me of how many of what we think of as public spaces are now privately owned. I can remember feeling vaguely outraged a few years ago when the shopping centre of Milton Keynes (which is actually the town centre, but under a roof, was passed into private ownership but was frankly amazed when, in 2008, I read about the development in Liverpool which would hand over existing public streets to a private landlord ( half way down this extract from the book Real England by Paul Kingsnorth). But I should have been more clued up Anna Minton wrote a report for RICS on the privatisation of public space in 2006 (followed up by a book in 2009 Ground control).
I mention these things not because they have anything to do with running but because they are related to the other side of the project, which is to explore my local environment.
Before I knew of the ban on photography in the Harlequin Centre I had not felt constrained because as I had had no desire to take pictures of shopping but know I know I can't I feel miffed. What is the problem with taking photographs?
Perhaps I ought to rethink my attitude to recording shops after all they are a significant indication of the health and nature of any town.  Shopping is probably  the country's dominant pass time and if I am exploring my environment it is blinkered to ignore it.
But today I sidestep the issue as photo has nothing to do with shops but is of something that, at the moment, is not fettered by copyright or ownership problems - nature. there have been an enormous number of ladybirds flying and crawling about. It must be there time for mass migration. The picture shows a couple caught in a spiders web

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