century homes, two-storey houses or flats, the occasional purpose built (but low rise) block, I walk in the streets for half an hour at least three times every day.I encounter a mostly global community (from Africa, South Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Europe).
We are a diverse group of ages and ethnicity, single and non-single parents, home owners and renters, immigrants and their descendants, not rich or poor, mostly working at least part time, only a couple of us were born in this city, although most of our children were.
One neighbour immediately talked about the street trees and how everyone gets together in the park when the weather is good.
People’s front gardens—small areas of defensible space filled with bins, weeds, occasional mattresses, often paved over, but still many offering the passers-by living, growing green shrubs and flowers with vibrant splashes of colour.
The allotments dotted around where people grow vegetables and flowers.
On a bad day the nature in this city lifts my spirits and helps me relax from the stresses and bustle of every-day life.
On a good day it fills me with outright joy—why would I want to live anywhere else?
We sometimes smile and say hello (the expectation on all sides is that we won’t share a first language), and some I now call my friends—when you walk regularly in your neighbourhood you often see the same faces…
out walking to the shops, taking children to school, walking their dogs (like me).
She and her husband considered moving out and getting a bigger house—but they value the city’s nature and culture too much so have decided to stay.
She has got involved in a local group aiming to revive a local neglected open space—making it cleaner, safer and a destination for all rather than a spot for anti-social behaviour.