Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recording the present

This photo was taken about this time last year near where I live in Milton Keynes. As you can see there was a slight covering of snow, although it melted quickly but it looked very pretty while it lasted. I do love the snow and it snowed again about two weeks later, a little bit more but still didn't last very long. It seems so many years now since I can remember having a decent snowfall, in fact I'd probably have to go back to the early to mid 80s when I was at middle school for the last time I can remember it snowing heavily.

I like taking pictures around where I live and I think its important to have a record of the changes that happen and even to record some of the mundane and ordinary stuff. It always surprises me how many people must do the same judging by the number of books there are on Milton Keynes filled with pictures from the development of the city. At the moment I am reading a fantastic book about the conception, design and building of Central Milton Keynes, which is packed with wonderful photos. It seems incongruous to think that where the shopping building stands now was a wheat field 30 years ago! But the fact that someone took pictures proves what it looked like before development came and it is amazing just how much MK has grown and changed over that time. Even in the seven years I have lived here, MK has changed greatly and continues to change. It is one of the things I like about living here; it is constantly evolving and growing, seemingly sometimes without end. I believe I am correct in saying that by 2030, Milton Keynes will be the twelfth biggest urban area in the UK with a population of 350,000 - much higher than originally envisaged.

I do worry that the developments now proposed will spoil the unique character of MK. There are proposals to do away with the grid road system, which is probably as synonymous with the city as the concrete cows, and there is little talk of new infrastructure, just houses and lots of them. There is even suggestions of infilling on some of the estates, packing more houses into the existing space. That would take away something that is very special about Milton Keynes - the sense of space and openness that there is.

It will be interesting to look back from the perspective of thirty years in the future and dig out the old photos of MK as now and see what the changes have meant and recall how life was. That is what is so important about taking photos of now.

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