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The spaces in between are what make urban living bearable. It’s not just the great formal parks that allow cities and their inhabitants to breathe, but the humble scraps of green space that lurk unexpectedly between buildings.
The great majority of the UK population may now live in urban areas, but deep in our souls we remain intimately connected to the land. Which is why, if you wander the streets of London in any weather and during any season, you will find people sitting quietly in the capital’s hidden retreats.
In the dark little garden at the centre of St James’s Square; beneath the memorial plaques of Postman’s Park; among the ruined tombstones behind St Alfege church in Greenwich, people come to read, to flirt, to turn their faces to the sky and allow their minds to roam free for a moment in the headlong struggle of the working day.
The premium on city space and the towering ambition of developers to assert themselves by building the tallest, oddest, most overbearing statement on the urban skyline mean that at street level, the number of urban oases is dwindling at an alarming rate. ….