Whilst walking down Kingswood Street, with its inevitable white vans, I wondered how people within the town must define their own geographical boundaries. For example, Kingswood Street comes under the Queens Park ward, although I’m not sure any nearby residents would regard it as such. Basically its best described as being in.. Well I don’t know really-any guesses?
Now if anyone does read this blog on a regular basis (I use the word ‘If’) you’ll notice I always refer to Brighton as a town- for that is what it is. I don’t subscribe to this City nonsense- although I was, like others, overcome with initial enthusiasm.
At present the Queens Park area within the town is defined by changeable Brighton ward boundaries which were drawn up with little cultural reference, as if done by an imperialist cartographer with a few minutes to spare between creating the boundaries of new nations- before grabbing his pink colouring crayon. Anyway, I think a person’s view of an area is pretty subjective and likely to be based on their experience and knowledge of it. So ward definitions probably count for little, unless you are an anxious soul like me for whom everything must be defined, and who’s whole existence subscribes to ever shortening boundaries just to make the enormity of life more manageable.
I wonder what role geographical boundaries play in creating sense of community though. Tribal nature, which perhaps a town’s football team readily engages in its inhabitants, rarely extends itself to local areas. The exception being perhaps in the case of gang rivalry where the pull of dark and charismatic character can define the plot that the next set of lost souls graduate to, rather than any pre-ordained local mapping.
Does a sense of community bring an enclosing of boundaries? Do we like to bring everything down to a macro and tribal level? The truth is that this is something I have never really discussed with people. Our village is our world nowadays, but that leave us without borders or yearning for them more?
I suppose writing for a site in which everything is about Brighton sets out my desire for splendid isolation and I feel very comfy with that. Perhaps it protects me. I think when you have lived somewhere as long as I have perhaps its familiarity looks after you.