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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Two days in Milton Keynes

With all due respect to the people who live in Milton Keynes (UK) it is a strange city to visit. I had imagined suburban buildings and greyness but found myself in what looked like countryside. I gasped at lush green fields with country trees, wild flowers and bunnies. And gasped again I saw that the grass in the fields was neatly cut. Everything, even the nature and countryside carefully manufactured to be ... to be, nice. Very nice. The people were polite and nice. The streets and all things public were immaculately clean (except the ladies toilet at the coach station) and every amenity and service was carefully signposted and well-organised. The city centre takes place some in large buildings containing all the big name stores.

The planners of Milton Keynes (back in the late sixties/seventies) were influenced by Melvin Webber's ideas of a plug-in city where everyone would have access to education, private transport and communication technology. The idea was that there would be no more local neighbourhoods but just a city with lots of different choices from which everybody could select their ideal lifestyle. Employment and services were spread out to reduce traffic conjestion - so there has been no reason for developing a good public system and taxis charge a fortune.

I can't put my finger on why, but despite the objectives of modern Milton Keynes, like high quality of life for all, sustainable lifestyles; choice of movement, dynamic, knowledge based economy, diversity and innovation and so on ... I was happy to come back to my chaotic, unorganised , wild, even dirty, home environment of the Arrábida and Setúbal - with all its local neighbourhoods.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to find someone who has seen the real Milton Keynes when they visited, even if you prefer home.

9/14/2005 11:09:00 AM  

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