Sunday, 20 April 2008

First entry... if you wonder why I created the map/blog

The map has come to life in the interim period whilst I'm waiting to move to SE11. The move has been delayed somewhat, and I'm channeling the frustration at the wait into mapping the area pre-arrival.

I suppose I'm quite old-fashioned in the sense that I consider geographical location to be the basis for forming good community, that is, areas which have the opportunity to function for the common good of all in society (or failing that, to at least allow for the provision of the formation of argument about what constitutes common good). Whilst one can more easily maintain bonds across counties, and countries with computer/mobile technology, it's easier to know if your neighbour is ill or in trouble if they are in your vicinity. Modern communities, I think, have fragmented into interest groups that are often (not always) formed of "people like us" and I suppose (due to my interest in the notion of "body" and (to steal a phrase), rampant sacramentality), I want to bring back the notion of "the local" to the online medium. Consequently, I have considerable interest in online communities too. Due to so many online communities being formed around external interests, I liked the idea of forming a blog to discover online strangers who might make themselves known as neighbours, and perhaps friends.

The map started off as a silly evening project, but has grown huge and is still growing, because I didn't quite realise the extent or diversity of the public spaces, organisations and businesses in the fabulous SE11. I also quite enjoy doing the research and adding personal comments, making the area "my own" and claiming, if not ownership, a sense of "belonging".

For the future, I'd like to map SE17 and then SW8, as these are two areas immediately surrounding SE11, but I didn't realise (if one wants to map everything, as I do), quite how much work is involved. It's easy to find lists on the web of various restaurants, pubs, pharmacies etc. but quite often information is out of date and the organisations don't exist any more. In the very long term, I'd be interested in mapping SW9, SE5 and (if I become quite mad), SE1. However, I think that keeping one or two postcode regions up to date will be quite tough.

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