We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

18 October 2007

The Best and Worst of Britain

I admit, I have been watching alot of channel 4 lately.. their programming can be quite interesting, or can be of the car crash variety. Last night it was the best of Location, Location, Location focusing on the top 20 best and worst places to live in Britain. The list was compiled based on statistics gathered for general health of the area, income/economy, school performance, quality of life (culture, restaurants, shops), environment (both green areas and carbon emissions), crime/drugs/binge drinking, and housing prices. I think that was all of it, or at least those are the major factors most of us seem to consider when moving.

I have probably been to more places in Scotland than in England, and I find this type of info informative for a foreigner of sorts! Surrey seems to be the place to live in England, as six towns in the county figured in the top ten, but its also the most expensive. Many of the worst places were middle or northern England unfortunately. Some of the top areas had downsides like high carbon emissions from all the expensive suvs, or lack of very much entertainment. Our area didn't rate either way, with the exception of Manchester (25 miles away tho') which was in the top worst due to its crime rate, with gun crime in particular.

So where was the worst place to live? Middlesbrough. High rates of obesity and poor health combined with high crime and low income made it finish above Hull, which was first last year. Middlesbrough is the first place in the UK to have talking CCTV installed!

And the best? Edinburgh -Scotland. I felt a sense of pride or at least pleasure when that came up! I feel much the same affection and 'home' feelings about it as I do Chicago. Having lived there and my son being born there, I still feel connected. And sometimes really want to move back! Of course it can be cold and grey, but as noted on the show, its beautiful with its Georgian New Town, the castle on the hill, Arthurs seat, and all the restaurants, shops and museums. Its also very cosmopolitan, so an american ex-pat fits in nicely.

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