Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember, amateurs built the ark,
Professionals built the Titanic.
Milton Keynes is synonymous with roundabouts and concrete cows. However if, after 40 years as a new town and centuries of prior existence (as a number of different small towns and villages), this was all that Milton Keynes had to offer, Milton Keynes would not be such a diverse place with people from all backgrounds, colours and creeds and an ever-growing population.
It would also not be deemed England’s most successful new town and a showcase city visited by people from across the world who want to understand how to develop a successful new town, which is earmarked for growth into one of England’s ten largest cities by 2030.[i]
I’m possibly not the most knowledgeable person on Milton Keynes as I’ve only been here for five years, but the more I learn about it, the more passionate and in love with it I become and the more I come to believe that there is a need for greater awareness of what Milton Keynes is really about for the people outside of the town, some of whom will never ever visit, but carry an often very strong opinion of the place. Of equal importance, I believe it is necessary for those of us who live and work in Milton Keynes to be more aware of the diversity it offers.
Recognising the limits of my experience and knowledge of Milton Keynes, I have taken the time to visit different parts and speak to different people who I know have a much clearer, in-depth knowledge than I do on specific areas.
Having done all of this, I am very conscious that I only just touch the tip of the iceberg as there is so much more that I have consciously or subconsciously omitted or am possibly unaware of. For this reason, I hope that what I have put together will inspire you to investigate and find out more. You can find a number of links on the Leverage Points website.[ii]
As with everything in life there are negative things about Milton Keynes as well as the many positives. I have chosen to focus more on the positives: the possibilities and opportunities to overcome the negatives. I’m in no way deluded, but I don’t believe it is constructive to focus on the things that have been tried that have not worked or the mistakes that have been made along the way, unless there is a direct lesson to be learnt from doing so.
It is therefore not a contradiction that on occasion I have been compelled to mention some of the ‘mistakes’ that have been made in order to explain some of the current circumstances and, I hope, to provide some suggestions on how to avoid them and to move forward into the ultimate future for Milton Keynes.
I also hope that, through this book, people outside of Milton Keynes will come to understand that while we love our roundabouts and concrete cows, there is so much more to be said of this vibrant town.
[i] Invest Milton Keynes Facts & Figures 2008 Basic Presentation
[ii] Leverage Points – www.leveragepoints.org
Copyright 2008 Extract from Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective
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