The grass isn't always greener
Vicky is 20 and in her second year of an English Literature with Creative Writing degree at University of Kent at Canterbury. When she's been surgically removed from her iPod, you'll find her reading a lot, buying clothes and shoes, or in the front row of an underground gig.
Is there grass in your back garden? Be careful, there might be a "modern suburban home" on it by the morning, says Vicky.
Driving through my hometown, I look out of the window at the sheer beauty of the dusty concrete car parks; the grace of the new main road thundering delicately through the trees on either side...
And strolling through the pathways and fields of my university town, then down towards the city centre, where there is nothing but old buildings and shops and an amazing cathedral, it is no wonder I never want to go home at the end of term.
Of course, I am a little biased; university being where the good bars, good cocktails and fabulous company are. Compared to home, with no nightlife and a severe lack of social gatherings. It can be said that the acute boredom that sets in when I'm home for long periods is what makes the town seem so damn ugly. In fact, it's much more than that. What really worries me is one day losing the beauty of my uni town in the same way the bulldozers, cranes and steamrollers have destroyed the beauty of my home.
Once upon a time, there was a big wood back home, but now only clumps of it remain (of course, with the obligatory droppings of rubbish scattered between the trees and piles of dog pooh on the ground). My problem is that if we continue to knock down trees, chuck acres of steaming concrete over grassy fields and flatten old buildings to make way for skyscrapers, pretty soon we'll have nothing of beauty or historical value left at all.
"I can imagine some politician in his office somewhere screaming, 'What? A bit of grass eight metres by 10, in the middle of a town? Build a bloody house on it.'"
Don't get me wrong, I know that we need new houses and motorways in order to progress, but there really is no need to totally obliterate anything that has a sniff of history about it. For one, new buildings are nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as older ones. But my biggest fear is a future where everyone is coming down with some form of urban depression, caused by staring at computer screens, smoggy cityscapes, blank, grey roads and red brick 24 hours a day.
The government's insistence on building houses on the teeniest, tiniest scrap of green makes my blood boil. What on earth is the problem with just leaving a patch of grass already surrounded by houses as it is? What makes them think that no one actually wants that space to stay as it is, rather than being turned into five "suburban semi-detached modern homes"? I can imagine some politician in his office somewhere screaming, "What? A bit of grass eight metres by 10, in the middle of a town? Build a bloody house on it. We cannot have this going on!"
The thing is, if the county where I live really needed so much new housing, why are there rows of houses lying empty, or being squatted in, only 15 minutes away from my house? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are two-bedroom terraces built in the 19th century. The council can't dare to have people moving into old houses. No, they insist on building massive new ones right on the riverside, destroying lots of wildlife and the beautiful scenery with it, instead. Are people really so shallow and proud they couldn't bear to live somewhere that wasn't brand-spanking-new, detached and oh-so-conspicuous?
For fear of sounding like a loved-up hippy, does no one else ever want to stand on grass, without it being in an interactive museum display of the last remaining square of greenery in the world? How about walking through a silent wood, with only sunlight, tweeting birds and pretty flowers for company, or appreciating the splendour of a castle or church that was built hundreds of years ago? No? Just me then...