The city mouse and the county mouse from Bill Maher

Bill Mahar’s piece about City, Country and Trump is spot on (it doesn’t seem to be geo-blocked in the UK for me). Funny, insightful and sadly true. You can apply a similar idea to the Brexit vote.

if you want to understand why America is so divided don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats or red states and blue states read the story the city mouse and the country mouse currently being sold under the new titled what happened but the original was about two mice who learn that you’re either one of the other city or country and the same really could be said for America when you fly over it you don’t see red states and blue states you see vast stretches of land where there’s nothing and then every once in a while a city.
Its also interesting to contrast this with City Boy and Country girl discussion had for the listening project.

Time for Cities to Talk About Abandoning Meat?

Ikinari Steak
Hummmm I will certainly miss steak…

More calls to reconsider our meat intake for the sake of the planet. Adrian hon a while ago mentioned a similar thing, suggesting eating meat will become like smoking is now? People will do it but looked upon as maybe selfish and causing harm.

I’m confident that in a hundred years, eating meat will be regarded in the negative way we now view racism or sexism – an ugly, demeaning, and unnecessary act. Like smoking, it will simply fall out of fashion because we’ll find better and healthier alternatives, although we’ll still occasionally eat humanely reared-and-killed animals. Note that I still eat meat even though I should know better.

To be fair, although I am very much in favour of eating meat mainly because the alternatives will cause me harm or even kill me (I kid not). I have been professionally advised multiple times not consider being vegetarian for this exact reason. Yes I could survive but it would mean lots of supplements to make up the things I get from meat.

Although I do see this becoming a really big problem and honestly for the sake of sustainability and longevity of the planet I have started limiting my meat intake a little. However in this blog, there is a lot of arguments which seem to indicate a high cost (the real cost) of meat might make people reconsider? Controversial maybe but in the same way sugar tax came into effect in the UK recently, I’ll be interested in the data which comes back. Or other places where they have done this type of thing?

So why cities? The post has some interesting thoughts….

This is where cities come into play. Obesity and climate change are two of the biggest challenges they’ll face in the 21st century. Ninety percent of urban areas are coastal, and their citizens will be the ones to feel the effects of rising sea levels and freak weather most deeply. So, too, will their health services and economies experience undue strain as the majority of their residents tip the scales and become overweight or obese. For cities, the consequences of inertia will be fatal.

But action must be born out of more than just necessity. Cities are also well placed to manage these changes. (The successes mayors have had in promoting activities like cycling, for instance — which also delivers enormous health and environmental benefits — is a testament to this.) The c40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, featuring 40 of the planet’s most influential cities, has claimed that city leaders have the flexibility which nation states lack: “City mayors are directly accountable to their constituents for their decisions, and are more nimble than state and national elected officials to take decisive action — often with immediate and impactful results.”

And this means they can interface with their citizens directly, getting to the root of problems and attitudes — the fact is, one study found that 90 percent of people’s justifications for eating meat boil down to it being “nice, necessary, normal, or natural.” Meanwhile, the majority of “meat-reducers” in the United Kingdom attribute the choice to improving their personal health — not animal welfare. Cities can move the debate beyond the ideological quagmire that governments, media, and activist groups are currently bogged down in.

Lots to think about… and it certainly makes good points about how our cities could be the biggest driver for this all. Of course it’s always great see my home of Bristol mentioned quite a bit in the examples although I’m sure there are many other shiny examples all over. That and the writer might have a bias to Bristol too.

Kate Country Girl, Ian City Boy

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I was talking to my parents and told them to keep an ear out for the listening project conversation me and Kate did last year. We were told it would be on BBC Radio 4 on Friday night and Sunday Omnibus. But it was so funny seeing the programme information page for it with our smiley faces. Country Girl and City Boy is a fun title of course, and I can imagine which part of the conversation they might be playing, I assume a similar part to BBC Manchester

Important Milestones for life

My first diabolo
Yes thats me with my first diabolo at school

Another one of those thought catalog pieces, this one about important milestones you can have in your life besides getting married. There is 40 of them but reading through them got me thinking…

Going through a painful breakup and refusing to let it drown you; instead, deciding to find growth and strength from it.

Absolutely… They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would certainly say my painful breakups have made me a much more resilient person. I kind of feel sorry for those who haven’t been through such a breakup. Its when you really find out what you are made of. Its also a reality check on had bad things can go.

Taking your parents on a vacation. Or even just out to dinner, because this is finally your chance to be the one who can treat them to something, rather than the other way around.

Love being able to treat my parents, looking to do it more in future. But its wonderful. I know many people who unfortunately can’t do this for different reasons.

Reconnecting with an old friend that you’ve always regretted losing touch with. Being the first one to reach out, to tell them you miss them, to make an attempt to see them again.

Its so great to catch up and talk over experiences and changes over time. Its also great to reach out and break the silence with more than a like or a +1. Real human connection.

Giving a heartfelt, well-written, meaningful speech as the Best Man or Maid of Honor at the wedding of someone who is very special to you.

Oh yes… still remember doing a adhoc speech at a wedding and later the grooms father came up to me, telling me I was such a good influence in his sons life. Even I was blown away by this.

The first holiday you spend with friends instead of family.

Oh I remember this well, holiday in Ibiza with friends in 1998, kind of hated the holiday but it was a learning experience. I went back to Ibiza 3 years later under my own steam.

Going on your first vacation with a significant other – paid for by you two and you two alone.

Indeed, spent much time going to different parts of America and Europe with my partner at the time. By this time I was already living in London alone, so it wasn’t such a big thing for me.

Having certain luxuries that you like to spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine.…And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.

Absolutely… this is something I have been thinking about a lot. I have got to a point where I can afford more of the things and experience I would like. But something stops me and I think it is my inner compass about being financially reckless. I would like a pair of the Nike Air Huarache (Triple black) but at £90-130, it feels reckless and reminds me of the kids who’s parents bought those ugly Rebook Pumps at £140. And then go their trainers stolen (if you not heard of this, where have you been?)

Telling someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

Oh yes… dare I say it… The fear of rejection, something I got over a long time ago. Life has gotten better since that day. Can I remember the first time? Maybe when I was 13 years old, I said I loved her without really knowing what she would say and to be honest really knowing what it really was about.

Traveling to a city you’ve always wanted to explore, and paying for everything on your own dime.

I have no idea where to start, so many cities. I think going to Cardiff was the first city where I wanted to go and I went complete on my own steam. I went clubbing in Cardiff at the forum, to the sounds of speed garage. Since then I obviously moved to London and to Manchester. But more to the point I went to international cities alone and explored under my own steam. They include Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, Chicago, Paris, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Barcelona, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Hamburg, Warsaw and of course Tokyo!

Finding that one book that changes your life, even if it’s in the smallest way possible.

We were talking about this one just today with something I’m collaborating on with some great people. There are so many great books I have read. This is a hard one as there is many. I guess the big one is Derek Powazak’s Design for Community. Reading that book and following the links lead me to meet my ex-wife online. But there are many other books including free culture, strange attractors, rebeccas world, emergence, the long tail, the tipping point, the art of deception, paradox of choice, no logo, smartmobs, hacking the xbox, we the media and so many more…

 

Shortcuts to city living

Tokyo from up high

I liked Lifehacker’s guide to Stress-Free Guide to Settling Down in a New City. The main points are…

Get the lay of the land by using the internet and asking real people.

Get out and make friends by seeking out your hobbies, meeting friends of friends and taking the initiative.

All seem sensible and to be honest I’ve done all these and more when moving from Bristol to London and London to Manchester. I didn’t have a guide, I just did it without thinking. I also find a lot of the points useful when going on holiday, but then again when I tend to go on holiday its more like an extended city break.

Anyway its a good read and if I was to move again, I certainly would have a look at it.

 

The slow death of Shoreditch?

Manchester Northern Quarter

Alex talks about the slow death of Shoreditch in a post.

Maybe it’s because during the Olympics politicians were invited to an area of town they wouldn’t have been caught dead in previously. Maybe on those trips to Old Street they realised it’s full of nice post-industrial buildings that would make for the types of fantastic loft spaces they experience in New York. Maybe it’s because they compare Shoreditch to the City and think that housing would help liven it up during weekends. Maybe if they’d lived in Hackney, they’d understand why they should just leave it be and stick to the initial plan to support startups and a tech community not give bankers a chance to live 10 minutes away from work.

One of the many reasons why Shoreditch works for startups is precisely its crap, badly heated, badly connected post-industrial buildings that don’t cost a fortune. That’s why there was an industry there in the first place right? And also everyone’s here, for now. (I’m already starting to hear of friends and colleagues relocating south of the river or even more east, where prices aren’t crazy.)

I do understand where shes coming from but another part of me wonders what she and others, think was going to happen?

Once Silicon roundabout was named and appeared in the likes of Wired magazineThe rest was a forgone conclusion.

Shoreditch featured heavily in the first dot com era too. But that was short lived, too many people using there investment money to buy themselves Audi TT’s it seemed like. This time there might have been something there but it quickly sold its self as the only place to be for startups, which simply isn’t true. London has a lot of space to offer and south of the river there is a lot of unused and unloved buildings just waiting for someone to do something with.

As someone whos lived on the edge of regenerated areas a few times its what happens and you learn to live with it.

In years to come they will say the same thing of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. You can already feel the push into Piccadilly Basin. In the last few months theres been at least 5 new bars in an area which was pretty much canal and housing. I remember when Kate too me there when I first arrived in Manchester. I thought it was great spot for bars and restaurants but up till recently the likes of the Moon have failed. I can imagine the rent is cheaper but there is the influence of the northern quarter heading towards Piccadilly for sure.

Changes is the only thing which is consistent…

Breaking the grid in the city and online

Grids and boxes

Molly has wrote a really good comparsion between the grid systems of most American cities and the grids of websites in an entry for Alist apart titled Thinking outside the grid. Thanks to Sheila for the heads up.

On the other hand, Tucson’s designers planned for only a certain amount of growth, and this has caused innumerable problems in maintaining the city’s ease of navigation and usability as the city grew beyond its planned limits. Furthermore, the constraints of Tucson’s grid do not encourage the emergence of alternative neighborhoods and communities. Many residents of Tucson will agree that the city lacks a vibrant center—or many unique communities—as a result, and that when those isolated spots do exist, they’re easy to get to, but people aren’t motivated to get out and find them.

London, unlike Tucson, is a maze. I know Londoners who carry around a London A-Z guidebook to help them navigate! The city’s transportation system is so challenging that would-be cab drivers must pass a test demonstrating that they possess The Knowledge in order to drive traditional black cabs. The city’s organic growth hasn’t exactly made it the easiest place to navigate.

Fantastic stuff, specially when you start thinking about the differences between the two cities communities and how blogs look compared to news sites.

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