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A good idea at the time…. 3 May 2012

Posted by Dr Moose in Life, Ponderings, University.
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I’m sure that’s what it must have been. And I’m sure it’s been replicated around the country, if not the world. Create an educational hub, from primary age right through to postgraduate. All together, all convenient. Why create separate journeys for the family with children at both primary and secondary level? And why we’re at it, lets put an HE college between them!

Of course, it was a good idea then. “Then” being when there was a much lower level of private car ownership. “Then” being when the policy about schooling was not so “enlightened” (or is it “blighted”?) by the principle of parental choice.

But that was “then”, this is “now”. The “Now” of widespread private car ownership, and many of them holding but one University student or staff member. The “Now” of the convenience of the family car because “it’s raining”, or “we’re late”, or “it’s just easier” (read, “we’re lazy”.)

And course it’s very easy for me to complain, as a part of the problem, sitting in the traffic queue, by myself in the car, and stuck in the mini-roundabout, traffic light, school entrance, mini-roundabout, mini-roundabout, school complex. Yes, a bus would hold most of us, but would mean me leaving considerably earlier and travelling much further to use it… if it wasn’t stuck in traffic.And of course I’ve already paid the car insurance and the maintenance plan.

Now there is a plan afoot to move the whole university. To merge the two campuses (campi?) into one on a completely new site much closer to the town centre. It has some very real merits, and is due for approval this year, on a 10 year or so time scale.

The question is, what might be the unseen consequences, of such a move? Or more correctly, what are the unseen consequences of everything that we do, and seemed right at the time? I have to say that I am not interested in trying to bring back the “good old days”. They had enough problems of their own, whether we remember them or not. I despair at some of the anti-scientific, anti-rational attempts of various interest lobbies to impede development.Neither can we make a fresh start in so many areas, because we have to start where we are.

Even so, it was a good idea at the time… just a shame about how it’s working out now!

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