12 May 2009

There's great reverence for green spaces

I have genuine admiration for this. Urban sprawl is tightly controlled, and green spaces are only sparingly given over to development. London itself is surrounded by the so-called “green belt” within which housing development is simply not allowed. Further, the country is laced with public right-of-way footpaths which can never be closed off, even if the land they are on is bought and made otherwise private. It seems you're never very far from a footpath. This has its downside, of course, and is a big contributing factor to the high cost of housing. But the British seem to have a common view that green spaces are something to be protected, cherished, and enjoyed.

And they do-- walking the paths is a common pastime, and you'll frequently see people trekking across open fields, consulting their Ordnance Survey maps for the proper route to the country pub for lunch, as you drive along the motorway or ride a train. Sort of “walking the walk” in a way-- not only are the green spaces preserved, but they are actually used.

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