We feel connected to the character of this area

Bath and its beautiful natural surroundings have both shaped our human settlements and been shaped by them over the millenia. The land and its waters have enabled particular kinds of economic activity, shaped our societies. One progressive view of history is that one change inevitably leads to another wiping away the past, putting say the local foundries of the 19C behind us as we have embraced digital technologies and now renewable energy. But perhaps there are deeper qualities that endure beneath the surface? Patterns in how the land has shaped our choices, that have maintained the vitality of this place over time; qualities in the kinds of people drawn here who have responded in particular ways to changing times to keep it viable economically, patterns that even now enable us to evolve in the face of huge challenges? Imagine that by 2030 we all here felt connected to these simple defining patterns, felt proud of the character of this area. What would be possible then?

Why the contribution is important

First, it is an old and now discredited paradigm to separate a 'system' like this many layered area we live in into its parts and deal with them separately - eg separating landscape from economy, transport from housing. This is the paradigm that has brought us into our planetary mess. All is connected. Bringing to life the character of this area will include all aspects of life.

Second, if we set functional goals - like more renewable production, more cycle paths, introducing agroforestry this would be welcomed by many, but will do only a little to increase people's sense of collective responsibility for the land we share here and for each other. This is important because we will need all our collective resilience and sense of agency to respond to likely very disruptive challenges coming down the road.

Thirdly, and linked to this, is creativity and innovation. If we are more deeply connected to the character of this place and what has given it life over time, we can be more confident in how we choose to respond to change and even break the mould and not be limited by the existing options. 

by PPBA1 on December 16, 2020 at 10:29AM

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  • Posted by PaulJ January 02, 2021 at 12:08

    Whether we like it or not, we are fashioned by what's gone before, and changes are not necessarily for the better. In understanding what's gone before, we need to take note of both the benefits and the disadvantages. Eighteenth century Bath was fraught with the same viruses that had plagued previous generations; beyond the superficial elegance, most people worked with nature rural poverty gave them no choice. So I agree, with this proposal - if we worked with nature, and harnessed it positively, making the most of it as our forebears had to, we'd achieve a greater sense of common purpose.
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