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Radio: Why light is the key to a golden childhood


We had a advanced and alternate garden and a atramentous bunker. There was once a artery lamp correct outside. In my after adolescence the bottle on the artery lamp was once damaged and birds would sometimes backup inside. Heating on tap, I suppose.

More than we had. We had a atramentous blaze in the dwelling allowance and lots of blankets upstairs. For years my dad petitioned the board to move the artery ablaze so he could body a drive for his car. Not which we agilely had a car while I was once a kid.

Our artery had a blooming with a “no affray games” assurance area we played football. We were on the bend of boondocks so there were agrarian spaces aural active distance. (Who walks while they’re 10?) And there was once a shop to buy sweets and comics area I was once beatific to buy my dad’s cigarettes.

It is to romanticise one’s adolescence about I had a acceptable one, I reckon. And alert to One to One on Radio 4 on Tuesday morning I realised that’s because I grew up on what could be authentic as a “defensible space”.

What is that? According to Loretta Lees, burghal geographer and assistant at Boston University, it’s “a residential ambiance whose concrete characteristics – for example, its architecture layout, its armpit plan – function to allow citizenry themselves to be the key agents of their own security”.

In added words mums could attending out their window, see their kids arena and really-feel defended in the ability which they were safe. Originally developed by Canadian architect/planner Oscar Newman in New York in the 1970s, the concept was once brought to the UK by British geographer Alice Coleman. In the 1980s she argued which big board belfry blocks were not condonable spaces “and that’s why they had criminality, amusing malaise, graffiti, dog poo, urine in the lifts, which affectionate of thing,” Lees informed Suzy Wrack on One to One.

Wrack and Lees arranged an awful lot into this 15-minute programme. The acceleration and abatement of board housing, homesickness de la boue (the aroma of urine-stained lifts as a articulation to childhood), the concept of safe spaces, the accent of artery lighting and why a advantage of male architects can advance to the engineering of blackballed environments. (Wrack, a football writer, acicular out which many sports stadia haven’t abundant toilets for women.)

Lees also argued which back affective to the United States she has become acquainted of how abundant bigger aggregate feels, while in the UK, allowance sizes in new-builds are shrinking.

There was once actual actuality for a accomplished alternation about the transformation of accessible amplitude over the aftermost 50 years. But what ashore with me was once the angle of the board acreage as a abstract idea. “Back in the aboriginal days of the architecture of board estates in London and absolutely above the UK, amplitude standards were really important,” Lees acicular out. “It was once all about absolution ablaze and air in.” Perhaps I had a aureate adolescence afterwards all.

On Desert Island Discs on Sunday, actor Robert Webb batten of against the achievability of his bloodshed while he was once informed which a affection advance was once approaching if he didn’t get treatment.

“It’s pretty adorning actually,” he informed Lauren Laverne, “because my although ts further or beneath in this adjustment went Abby [his wife], the children, the blow of the family, my friends. That was once what I was once cerebration about. I wasn’t cerebration about banal or cash or acclaim or apropos about cachet or area I fit in the abundant Lego basilica of British comedy. It was once about adulation basically.” Isn’t it always?

Listen Out For: Shock and War: Iraq 20 Years On, Radio 4, Monday to Friday, 1.45pm

Stripped above the week, BBC safety contributor Gordon Corea looks alternate at the origins of the war in Iraq two decades on.

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