So hello, neighbourhood

I’ve been here a year but I’ve been neglecting you a bit.

Where? Well, to most people I say “Wandsworth, just by the bridge”. For those who drive around South London, you know by Wandsworth Bridge there’s a drive-thru McDonalds? By there. Party people will know it as “just by The Ship”. People who work in waste management will know it as just by the dump. Some of you may have flown over if taking off and going west from the Heliport. If so, can you do it a bit more quietly next time, thanks. It’s lovely really, I’m very lucky.

I wrote this morning about remembering where I live, through trying to spend time far away at Hack The Barbican. I’d like to get more involved in what’s going on round here. But where is “round here”? In that post I talked about SW18 but really I don’t think that postcodery cuts it. It’s interesting to think about how you can define locality and hyperlocality. The postcode SW18 actually covers a lot of stuff, stretching over to Putney, down to Wimbledon and Tooting, Balham and Battersea. And I live right up almost in the north-eastern corner. Equally, administrative entities, the parliamentary constituency of Battersea, Wandsworth Council & Fairfield Ward all seem far from my personal experience.

So how about just distance?

Here’s a map showing a circle with a radius of 1 mile from where I live:

That looks about right.

Even factoring in crossing the river, I could walk anywhere there in half an hour. It takes me twenty minutes to walk to Clapham Junction station for instance. I can imagine all of these places even though I probably haven’t explored everywhere yet. They all feel near.

And they include a couple of tube stations and three train stations! Lots of parkland and riverside. And the retail areas of Wandsworth Town & Clapham Junction plus the development that’s going on in the “Riverside Quarter” and “Imperial Wharf”.

And most interestingly there are lots of different communities in all of these areas, it’s not just a place for the kinds of people who like to pay low council tax.

Yes, that feels quite manageable and a bit exciting.

I need to get out and have a scout around and see who I can meet.

If I already know you, you live nearby and you’re reading this, let me know! Also nudge me if you know people that I should know living or working within that big green circle, anyone that could do with my help.

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6 thoughts on “So hello, neighbourhood”

  1. And for some of us that makes you ‘just where you turn off for B&Q’.

    People’s personal maps of London are fascinating because they are all different. And for a surprising number of tube travellers, surprisingly fragmented: they know some different pieces but know they don’t know how those pieces fit together. So I like the idea of declaring an area your home territory and systematically exploring it.

    They also stretch out over time – the centre and main landmarks of my five-year old map make almost no contact with my fifty year old map, with the exception of ghostly meetings outside a building in Holborn demolished twenty years ago.

    1. Ah yes there’s definitely some work to do on who goes to Homebase and who goes to B&Q!

      Thanks Stefan, really interesting perspective. And a good reminder of places that don’t exist anymore except in memory. I don’t really have that here, but I do elsewhere.

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