Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Building on Green Spaces

A couple of weeks ago I met a friend I have known since we were small children. We do not see each other much nowadays but it is always pleasant to catch up and during the conversation, he made an interesting observation.

The field that we used to play football and cricket on as kids has now been built over, as has the one that we walked over to for Games Lessons in Junior School. The field that we played rugby on in Senior School is now a housing estate just like the area of meadowland where we (often reluctantly) ran cross country. Moving on to our Universities, he added that the tennis courts at his hall of residence are now just another accommodation block, as is the large green grassy area in front of mine.

The fewer green areas there are, the fewer kids play out. The fewer kids play out, the more parents obsess about their child being abducted and do not allow them out of sight. Cheap and simple objects such as bats and balls are then replaced by highly expensive consumer electronic devices. Widespread obesity and nervous, under confident adults are the inevitable result.


Anonymous said...

When I did games at school, we went to Robin Park. Robin Park, at that time, was a massive flat area of about forty football and rugby fields - just an open grass area with some white lines and posts. There might have been a sandpit for long jumping, and a 400m track circuit marked out. In summer, wickets were mown. It was huge the point where three or four high schools could run entire year group games sessions simultaneously.

You may have heard of Robin Park. It's where Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors play football and rugby league. Of course, they don't play on a wide open field - that's gone. Where it was there is now just the one pitch, surrounded by a massive stadium and an extensive retail park which includes, ironically, two sports shops.

But then, since most of the schools in Wigan have apparently been demolished and replaced with housing estates, I doubt it's too much of a problem.

Steve said...

You might be interested in this an ex-teacher writing a blog about risk.

Dack said...

Maybe we could just have giant wii fit projections on the side of buildings.

English Pensioner said...

I live near a local schools complex, a grammar school, a secondary school and a first school (or whatever they call it these days).
In the 20 years that I've lived here, the first two have doubled in size with new blocks, a huge gymnasium building and numerous other extensions.
Now, the governors of the high school (ie the County Council) have applied for planning permission for a 3 story block of flats and if successful will sell some of the land for development. They have previously built 6 or so "executive homes" on another part of the site.
The traffic is horrendous for most of the day, to visit the local town, we now prefer to drive an extra mile in a detour rather than pass the schools.
Apart from the loss of land, if this were any other business (or perhaps even a private school) there is no way that planning permission would have been given for such expansion in a residential area. But I've no doubt, in spite of all the protests, the County Council will, in due course, grant itself planning permission for the development.

Lilyofthefield said...

I was not a particularly anxious parent in terms of my children playing out even when they were quite small, but my main concern was not abduction but traffic.

We were fortunate in that we lived in a cul-de-sacw ith lots of other families of small children and have a large park just round the corner. If we lived on a thoroughfare or they'd had to cross any roads to get to a green open space I don't think I'd have let them out of the garden.

Anonymous said...

Kids playing outside is now called Anti Social Behaviour and it is illegal.