Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Willingly Afeared in Aberdeen


Reader Comment

... the general thrust of fascism is that the rapidly expanding capacity of the bureaucratic state to discipline and regulate its citizenry can and ought to be used to the utmost to create a rigidly hierarchal, homogenized and cohesive populace.


Norway killer had BP Aberdeen base as a 'target'
Anders Behring Breivik included BP's headquarters in Aberdeen on a list of places to attack included in his infamous 'manifesto' 


gunman’s internet manifesto revealed north sea rigs were prime targets
BP’s north-east HQ was on mass killer’s terror hit-list


Warning to public after Norwegian massacre
Top Grampian policeman says public must stay alert
A SENIOR police officer today warned people across the Aberdeen area to be ever alert to the threat of terrorism following the massacre in Norway.
Aberdeen terrorism expert Professor David Capitanchik of Robert Gordon University [added] that Aberdeen remained “vulnerable” to terrorist attacks.


We couldn't help but notice and so be disgusted and sickened by a sort of self-important self-satisfied glee leaking out at the edges of these local reports. A perverse delight in the fact that mention in that madman's 1500 pages of racist paranoid rage somehow puts Aberdeen on the map, and is therefore something to be slyly happy about while nodding sagely and making all the right noises and hand-wringing gestures. 

But these local press and TV reporters are merely sensationalising, and, more seriously and to our great dismay, in doing so are tipping us all into an illiberal trap. Their headlines are only true on the margins, and then with a fair bit of interpretation. To report that the killer Breivik had identified Oilco BP's Dyce HQ as a 'target' is no more true (nor, indeed, false) than to say that 'Paris' or 'Literature Festivals', or all oil refineries everywhere in the EU, were included in an extensive list of infrastructural, cultural, economic, political and social 'targets' which also encompassed every single commercial electricity supply nuclear reactor in Western Europe, all mainstream political parties of both left and right in all EU countries, "Royal Castles" and even Wikipedia.

Our local press, by their willingness to propagate such sensasionalised reportage are acting as 'useful idiots' and delivering us directly into the type of hypersecurity state of which the murderous far-right terrorist Breivik would no doubt heartily approve.


Saul Newman
The Politics of Post-anarchism

The logic of security itself, which has become so ubiquitous and omnipresent today, has to be seen as a mechanism of depoliticization: it is a way of imposing a certain order on social reality which is self-legitimizing and beyond question.
Today we have come to think of freedom only as strictly circumscribed by security; freedom and security become part of a binary in which the former cannot be imagined without the latter, and in which the former always gives way to the exigencies and prerogatives imposed by the latter. The liberal idea of an appropriate balance between security and liberty is an illusion. The only vision the security paradigm offers us - with its pernicious technologies and its perverse logic that grips us in a double bind - is an empty, controlled, overexposed landscape from which all hope of emancipation has faded and where all we have left to do is obsessively measure the risks posed to our lives from the ever-present specter of catastrophe. The security paradigm intensifies a micro-politics of fear, producing a kind of generalized neurosis.


We smiled grimly when we read Newman's warnings of "self-legitimizing" security infrastructure which is "beyond question" because we had noted with the launch of the Aberdeen Business Improvement District (Aberdeen BID) business plan (PDF) that CCTV is regarded as "Baseline Service", with the only indication of the benefit its installation is supposed to confer being the solipsistic "provision of 24/7 CCTV coverage". Yes, they insist that more CCTV capacity be installed, because it will provide greater CCTV capacity.


Comments on Facebook "Aberdeen" Community Page and STV Local.
  • "Scary stuff! My work is just behind the BP headquarters in Dyce!"
  • "I work at BP and this is scaring the hell out of me... Hopefully adequate security is provided..."
  • "We are all really worried..."
  • "We all have to sleep with one eye open now..."

We'd like to point out to these worriers that, what with the UK being the most CCTV surveilled nation in the world (notwithstanding the possible exception of weirdo aseptic totalitarian state Singapore), there's probably nothing to fear. That is, of course, unless they have something to hide...


Monday, 18 July 2011

Edgeland at Moss of Rotten

In the liminal zone, that edgeland zone of replacement where the town and the countryside fray into each other, scrubland horse-riding centres rub shoulders with smallholdings in a landscape characterised by picturesque benign neglect. This is time's realm and time, given time, blends the mineral into the organic, the artificial to the natural as first-generation barbwire and corrugated iron - beyond aged - flake in transmutative rust, richly endowing soils with their serendipitously ferric fertiliser. Sickly-sharp-smelling brackish standing water silver-mirrors through surface-skating midge-haze the discontinuous summer-showery sky. Fern frond, gorse barb, hogweed stand.
All this on that rarity - unimproved land. Here a bog - a 'moss', as known here - where medieval freemen dug their peat fuel - wealth from the land, continued prosperity and security against a hard winter; there craggy bedrock - last blanketed by topsoil some ten-thousand years hence before glacier's denuding scrape - stands exposed; a convenient landmark, waymark. Property marker.

To the west of our town, the proposed (delayed?) Aberdeen bypass motorway will thunder, heroic high on embankment shoulder-carried through this landscape, claiming this Moss of Rotten, facilitating the motorist as he looks down upon the equestrians, the smallholdings and the unimproved edgeland. Once the motorway comes this edgeland will be replaced, subsumed into a rigidly defined geography of minimum speed limits and theodolite delineated plots; housing-zoned for pleasant-valley detatched and semi.

We don't fear for the edgeland - the edgeland will move on, move farther out. Edgelands are always with us. But the Moss of Rotten will be forever gone.



Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
Environmental Statement
Non-Technical Summary



The road crosses a predominantly rural landscape, which has a range of landscape characters relating to topography, vegetation and land use.

Impacts will typically be associated with the introduction of the road, embankments, cuttings, bridges, junctions, lighting and vehicle movements into the open and wooded farmland, hill and valley landscapes.

Measures included in the scheme proposals to reduce impacts on the landscape include careful alignment of the road and easing of embankment and cutting slopes to blend with existing landforms and allow a potential return to agriculture. Appropriate boundaries, su.ch as drystone walls or planting, will be put in place to reflect existing boundaries and maintain the character of the landscape. The effectiveness of this planting will typically increase over time as vegetation matures.


Cultural Heritage

There are a number of sites of cultural heritage importance located within the route corridor, The effects on these include direct physical impacts and indirect impacts on their setting.

Where possible, the route of the road has been designed to avoid or reduce direct impacts or impacts on the setting. Where this has not been possible, archaeological recording is proposed for known sites where direct impacts are predicted. Works will also be undertaken to identify and record previously unknown sites. In addition landscape design proposals have been developed to reduce impacts on setting.




Alternative Names March Stone; Moss Of Rotten
Archaeological Notes NJ80SW 51 c. 8474 0400

This boundary marker comprises the letter P (285mm high) incised into the upper surface of an area of bedrock about 225m E of North Westfield farmsteading (NJ80SW 52). The bedrock is situated on the S edge of an area of low-lying ground that originally formed the W end of the Moss of Rotten (OS 6-inch map, Aberdeenshire, 1st edition, 1869, sheet lxxxv).

The marker almost certainly indicates a point on the Outer Marches of Aberdeen and is of medieval date, the letter 'P' standing for 'Propertie'.


Look closely - click for a big version of the pic - and the 'P' is evident proof that, even in pre-enlightenment times, the people of Aberdeen were obsessed with 'Propertie'.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Nocturne

The Nocturne

Time after time we two, astride our mounts - with purpose in our cadence, ride out into the town in the night. Again and again we clip into the pedals and ride into the night for the peace and the space, for the fresh cool brush of our self-righteously self-generated breeze. We ride into the night for the chance to listen at a distance - no traffic foom, swish and roar to overrule our long-range listening. Through the quiet and muffle can we detect the soul of the town? Is it there at all in its repose after the frantic day? We make that choice to ride out at night because we have no choice; we're forced to make our expeditions - our explorations - in these few hours of darkness and within this constraint we find the freedom, for only under the muffle-blanket quiet of night can we uncover the dormant truth in our town of false consciousness on overdrive.

Long ago a double-river delta fishing settlement on the littoral of a northern sea. And a market town of that same fish but beef and lamb too and wool and tanner's reek. Then, steam power engineering and a stone-quarry royal burgh and woolen-mill village - stonemason's grey abrasive dusty drill and saw; whistling crane and puffing loco. Woollen-mill factory stacks mingling with woods and fields, quarry tips and worker tenements, merchants' mansions, managers' terraces. The drop-hammer forge and kirk-spire bell clang and chime out around the hills of our basin-bound estuary town. Even then a town of edges, a town of contrasts, opposites colliding. The world demand for our hard stone built for us a stone-built pier and the stone exported itself - imperial - to high-Victorian puppet-captials and other pith-behelmed viceroy strutting stages. And what of that soft woven woollen cloth (we said it was said to be world's best)? Well it overcoated the shoulders of captains of capitalism and socialist politbureau elite alike. These things are gone now, washed away by the besmirching boom of mid-century oil discovery. The resource curse, now succumbing to the Hubbert curve.

So we grip the handlebars and ride out into the night to re-stitch the town to our consciousness, to weave the fabric of the city anew. We ride the night the soft black velvet muffled fabric of the town in the night; our bikes scissor the pattern and our pumping pedal cadence embroiders the silence - the silence we have sought and waited for the length of the fraught daylight noisy overdriven busy day.

To recapture past glories the cargo cult mentality of "if you build it they will come" pervades our town. A new motorway! New radial routes ushering the high speed traffic flow of all important motorized shoppers to underground town-centre retail and leisure delivery destinations for Eloi and Morlock alike. Down the sink-sector hole of luxe consumption goes two centuries of value creation and into the howling void of the destination-free upgrade cycle and subscription model shopaholic therapy consumption we all tumble.

In the deep night silently slick our rock hard tyres make no sound as we pair-bonded pair weave pair-braided paths to try to tie the town down. We snicket-stitch and engrave our glyph-routes across the ashlar of urban geography - scoring whimsical notional points - for an anti-clockwise route (widdershins!), a mews lane newly found and traversed, a two-mile wide spiral in or out - the farther the better in our cycling psychogeography. It's our game, our delight, our rules. Our rules of the night. The night we rule.

But through the day cargo cultists in their cars and vans, now busy busying about looking busy going fast aping the activity of busy bustling business. Every day less value left to be extracted from the offshore hydrocarbon reservoirs. Every day, the motorists make up for it by bustling about that bit more. That bit faster. That bit noisier, that bit more unpleasant for anyone not in a car, anyone who is not them. Their particulate airbourne chokes the pavement pedestrian. Their impatience and aggression deters the cyclist and equestrian. At the start of this century, our county-town, geographically isolated in the north: an oil town wildly distorted by the extractive industry resource boom which turned its back on the elder industries of previous centuries and several centuries good standing without even a wave or a goodbye. We pay the social price for that high commodity price; the fast-dwindling reserve - sucked ever faster from beneath our slate-grey northern seas as the market price dictates the pace of the getting. None new left to find. Our town wildly distorted - huge affluence for a tiny handful - the dregs and drippings and crumbs from their table for the rest. And now, industrial activity declining along with the depletion curve, our town doesn't know what to do with itself. So many left behind.

So in the night we pedal past bookies replacing bakeries, thrift shops replacing bookshops in the town centre. Cycling out into the dark centre of a town torn by the world's addiction to oil, we share the night with the ghosts of different addictions and afflictions. The casino-ejected drunk, the mumbling stumbling raving madman, the burgler, the OCD jogger, the tart and her taxi-driver, and the junkie and the dealer's runner all share the night with us. The shadows of their routes cross ours, their faces are rarely seen, the darkness has its uses for us all. Layer upon layer the town has laid upon it - as the good folk sleep the other folk go about. We cycle at maximum speed, our paraphernalia comprises needle-sharp lights to flash or not to flash, blue white intense forward and numbingly blood red backward.

We cross the path of one of those ghosts. A flash past black hoodie up transparant faced ghost on a moody mountain bike - no lights fettled to be fixing powered by powder. But tonight this ghost is at work and tonight urgent work at that - critical path is couriering and collecting. Distributing and staying on the edge of useful using. A little white speeds him on his way, a little brown in a little while will calm him right down. Coshed to the cold now warm floor on one cushion - the comfiest chair in the world for sleep/not sleep; something else. Then a ping and a ting on today's phone and up from the floorboards and on the iron horse again, the coca monkey on his back, the opiate promise of the commission of his errand. Wrong way down a bus lane. Through a snicket suspension forks plushly smooth and dampen the slickly wet flight of steps, a skid - a recovery then away frictionless. The bike and the user are one thing; light and lithe and supple and quick. This chimera seems not to interact with anything, at right angles to, over under and through the town in a different dimension of distorted escaped consciousness; this white to brown to white line desire line needles main-lines the life of the town in the hours after the good people are asleep in their matching duvet sets slumbering and dreaming of the commute. 

Grumble, twitch, turn. Snore. They are the good people, and the good people are asleep tonight and every night; today, tomorrow and every day always sleeping. And we are not asleep, we are different. Like the junkie and the tart - like the thief and the madman in the night - transgressors all are we of the norms of our town. We reject the things that the good people have been spoon-fed taught to believe that they love. The things they think are important we just can't understand. We are different. But tonight, safe from us are they - the good people behind curtain and blind - the good folk under pressure fret their mortgages and office politics, succumbing to the the soporific repetitious sussuration of soap opera or blustery Clarkson barking chest-beating blare in surround from 3D cinema display to displace life behind their walls while the city of the outside world and its cool clean air is ours. Tonight and every night the city is ours because they don't know us, they don't know what we think, they can barely even see us. We cannot impinge upon their consciousness because their consciousness is not theirs to be impinged upon - it was chosen for them, designed for them, delivered to them and installed as part of the planned upgrade cycle. All watched over, their consciousness was selected for them, then high in the sky beamed to them by satellite from the 36000km Clarke orbit geostationary ecliptic. All watched over, there's no niche for us misfits to fit into in that just-so world of producer-consumption. Sometimes we pity them. Sometimes we bare our teeth and sneer, snarling our contempt. 

Traffic lights blink uselessly for no-one in the night, their futile sequence robot-repeated endlessly over and over: red, red-amber, green, amber, red; and again. Go. Stop! Go again. Taking turns to take the lead - to break the wind - we increase the pedal-cadence and snick up a gear, flashing fast past broad boulevards of dead-straight merchant-class mannered mansion-block apartments, now town centre dissipated bedsitland, give way to stately avenues, green-filtered sodium-yellow arc light parallaxes through the golden elm canopies and our pace slows; a characteristic northern summer smirr suspended in the cool dark air refreshes as we click down gears to climb up the town's steepest hills. Up out of the twin-estuarine basin, the gradient slows us, we are stately through the boulevards and avenues.

The merchants' and managers' houses of the early 20th century, now occupied by lawyers' and accountants' offices, the butler's pantry now the consultant's atelier. Radial boulevards breach concentric barriers of time and style as they fan out from the middle of the town. Like ripples in a pond, like impact craters. Like pulsing generations of bacteria cultured on a petri dish the concentric rings of development are mapped one and the same in this and every town of the industrial west. Ebb and flow, come and go, boom and bust. Start. Stop! Start again. 

Tonight we'll ride in stealth up to the heights of the deepest enclave of affluence, where those who've gathered the most do the most to keep it to themselves. Up the hill we'll go to the summit of influence where those most isolated look down upon those they believe they control. Up the scarp we'll pedal to the den of capital, where those with the most to lose cannot see that they've already lost everything.

The good folk are set for the night, they have set their alarms. Their security measures measure their insecurity; the blinking light of burglar alarm box winks it's strobey message at us; a cat on the pressure pad in this cat's pressured pad? Sandman or Runner? With closed circuit, and private security patrol van, all to secure the insecurity of the pressured salaryman from the pressure his bubble's under as his property bubble investments bubble under, flounder aground amid the scub. We blow the froth from the top. A rush and a push and this land could be ours. With a shove and a turn of the pedals the city is ours. After dark, the city is ours tonight and every night because they don't know the routes we take, they don't know where our thoughts can lead us. 

It's a long way, a slow steady haul, it takes its time and it extracts its toll in our sweat to attain the summit. But we're proud of this strong ascent made on bone and aluminium, rubber and tendon, steel and sinew. Glucose fuelled. Steady feet flat parallel to pedal, pedal parallel to ground, form solid, breath strong and steady - in through nose, out through mouth. Panting past the big, then bigger, now biggest of the moneymansions in the movieset affluenza ghetto to the summit of the ridge overlooking the entirety of the town. As we pass each mini-castle, their mercury-arc motion-sensor security lights come on one by one as we cycle past, just to show how special we are. Just to show how special they are. We're there. We've arrived.

Stop. Turn. Dismount. Listen...
Wait, think!

The mansion security lights blink out one by one in sequence up the hill, and we are left in the dark and quiet. The dark and quiet we sought. I can feel - hear! - my own heartbeat. Now calming, sitting on a paint-blistered lichen colonised bench by the side of the road, sipping bidon water, attention expanding, feeling the fabric of the night and its stillness.

Small insects bebuzzle around the dazzle of the streetlights. The falling dew, soft but granular, can it be heard? Attention stolen by a nightingale and another trilling and whistling a crescendo dual of territorial superiority in neighbouring trees. A whisper of a strengthening breeze in the canopy above, the tree appears to ruffle its hair. A far-off motorbike breaking the speed limit on the ring-road, gearbox cresting and growling.

Time passes. Thoughts pass. Comments pass.

Visible to our high vantage: a peachy-glow far to the north-east over the charcoal grey town centre, above the once mudflat flood-plain now dunny-green golfcourse and steel-edgy harbour, above the khaki strand and indigo-blue dark sea beyond and rosy-fingered rising above the horizon the dawn breaks so early this far north. The fabric of the town seems to creak awake around us, then so many sudden birds singing - a riot. But still the good folk sleep on - another three or so hours until rush-hour.

And it is enough. The night is broken. The endless timeless moment has passed and the day is here. The town sheds its velvet cloak and displays its mica-sparkling stone hard face chin-out defiance to the day once more.

Time for us to go home. Re-mounting, re-clipping and pedaling as full daylight extends its arms around our far-northern town we're rolling shooting down consciousness expanding grin widening fingers on brake levers warming legs pumping maintaining momentum through the green lights - left and right glancing gaze. Laughing; knuckle-flick flick click snicked into the highest gear - like flying smooth or dream-running with a ten-metre stride. Still in our motionless motion down the long long hill back two miles down to the town's centre. Now sitting up freewheeling on stealth hub we are a sliding silently pool of dark light in the spreading day of coolness like thin cold liquid fast faster, an attenuated touch on the brakes to keep the heart rate down.

Staying on this side of the thrill.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Biodiversity, or the variety of life, includes all living things and their environments from the tiniest bacteria to the biggest tree. Following the UN Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio, over 150 nations signed up to protect Biodiversity. [...] As part of the UK response, Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) have been set up throughout the country. The City Council has continued as a partner in the North-East Scotland LBAP and provides direct financial support. City Council officers are part of the steering group and contribute to the Habitats and Species and Awareness subgroups as well as on individual action plan working groups.


Woodlands and parks have been managed to promote red squirrels, provision of bat and birds boxes in parks, management areas of grassland in public places for biodiversity, nature conservation, recreation and education. Proposals were submitted to the Environment and Infrastructure Committee and action plans have been developed to maintain road verges by limiting grass cutting to promote biodiversity such as conservation of butterflies, particularly pink butterfly.


Road verges that contain many species of plants, if managed correctly and not cut too frequently can prove to be very valuable wildlife habitats. The NE Scotland Road Verges Survey and Report has been completed as part of The North East Scotland LBAP for Species-rich Grassland ... sites within the City have been identified as valuable and these have been passed on to the Parks and Countryside Unit to ensure they are managed appropriately. 



The Rotair Speedy Cutter gives a Safe, Productive and Versatile performance in EXTREME conditions that are TOO DANGEROUS for manual machine operators.
With its expanding range of quick release interchangeable attachments such as the dozer blade, bucket, snow blower and the Speedy Cutter''''s unique and extraordinary features, it is the ideal solution for the mowing and maintaining of road and motorway edges THAT CANNOT BE REACHED by other operating machines.


Road verges that contain many species of plants, if managed correctly and not cut too frequently can prove to be very valuable wildlife habitats. The NE Scotland Road Verges Survey and Report has been completed as part of The North East Scotland LBAP for Species-rich Grassland ... sites within the City have been identified as valuable and these have been passed on to the Parks and Countryside Unit to ensure they are managed appropriately.



Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Bizarre Opaque Transparency from Aberdeen City Council.

Local government transparency 

 Getting council business out in the open will revolutionise local government and enable the Big Society. Transparency is the foundation of accountability. Local people should be able to hold politicians and public bodies to account over how their council tax is being spent, and decisions made on their behalf. It is also a powerful means of promoting efficiency, without requiring the heavy-handed intervention of an unaccountable bureaucracy.


City Garden - Project Monitoring Group

The role of the Project Monitoring Group is to oversee the City Garden project's progress and ensure that Council's interests, and that of the majority of Aberdeen citizens, are protected as the project progresses.




City Garden Project Monitoring Group

Note of Meeting held at 9.30am on Friday 20 May 2011
Committee Room 5, Town House



Sanitization and Redaction

Sanitization is the process of removing sensitive information from a document or other medium, so that it may be distributed to a broader audience. When dealing with classified information, sanitization attempts to reduce the document's classification level, possibly yielding an unclassified document. Originally, the term sanitization was applied to printed documents; it has since been extended to apply to computer media and the problem of data remanence as well.
Redaction generally refers to the editing or blacking out of text in a document, or to the result of such an effort. It is intended to allow the selective disclosure of information in a document while keeping other parts of the document secret. Typically the result is a document that is suitable for publication, or for dissemination to others than the intended audience of the original document. For example, when a document is subpoenaed in a court case, information not specifically relevant to the case at hand is often redacted.

Government secrecy

In the context of government documents, redaction (also called sanitization) generally refers more specifically to the process of removing sensitive or classified information from a document prior to its publication, during declassification.

Secure document redaction techniques

The traditional technique of redacting confidential material from a paper document before its public release involves crossing out portions of text with a wide black pen, followed by photocopying the result. This is a relatively easy to understand process and has only minor risks associated with it. For example, if the black pen is not wide enough, careful examination of the resulting photocopy may still reveal partial information about the text, such as the difference between short and tall letters. The exact length of the removed text also remains recognizable, which may help to guess plausible wordings for shorter redacted sections. Where computer-generated proportional fonts were used, even more information can leak out of the redacted section in the form of the exact position of nearby visible characters.



Regardless of the rights or wrongs, transparency or opacity, paranoia or caution which has motivated our elected local council representatives in our and their appointed executives minor provincial county town to undertake this 'redaction', it just looks bad. As one online commenter said:
Nice to see that everything is transparent so as to avoid the feeling of conspiracy and underhanded activity. Good confidence-building job. As ever.
But we have another point: the fact that this has been done should give us pause; should make us consider whether or not these people are suitably qualified, skilled, competent and suitable individuals to be trusted with the execution of this controversial project. We say this because we are not investegative journalists, we are not computer geeks, and we are not cryptologists - but nonetheless we managed to obtain quite by accident unredacted copies of the texts as we were preparing this post. Here are full, redacted copies of the minutes. If anyone wants copies of the unredacted text, you can contact us at otheraberdeen@gmail.com and we'll be delighted to oblige.


Following our reportage of this hilarious mis-step, a local newspaper published this article, the and most of the redaction has been removed from the online copies of the minutes.
Thanks to blogger rxpell for the scan.


No blanks in that one.


The law firm name 'Brodies' has been blanked.


Again, the law-firm name 'Brodies' has been blanked.

We wonder why?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Infrastructure Modification


Health effects

A lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide.
A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can contribute to or be a risk factor for:
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mortality in elderly men by 30% and double the risk in elderly women
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Colon cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lipid disorders
  • Kidney Stones


One response that has been adopted by many organizations concerned with health and environment is the promotion of active travel, which seeks to promote walking and cycling as safe and attractive alternatives to motorized transport. Given that many journeys are for relatively short distances, there is considerable scope to replace car use with walking or cycling, though in many settings this may require some infrastructure modification.



Infrastructure Modification

He has just been awarded with one of those Disabled Parking Spaces directly outside his house. It was newly painted-in last month and it looks lovely with his new 'motability' SUV all nice and clean parked in it - it's as if it's an extra extension (like a loft conversion or conservatory) to the house! But it's free! It all falls into place once you get the blue badge. Neighbours have watched his sad disability progress over the years until now it reached this crisis requiring special facilities, allowances and entitlements. Over the span of his working life, as he became more successful in business, he treated himself to nicer and nicer cars - why not? A new one every year - the very latest models with all the gadgets and stuff. And as he progressed perquisite upon perquisite up the corporate ladder he was awarded a dedicated space in the company car-park nearer and nearer to the management suite - noblesse oblige! Bigger cars matched his ever bigger mass as his status and success became evident in his puffing waddling stature.

But as his paunch-padded comfort in the Jag or Beemer increased, so the affluence of the town around him increased and more and more of his neighbours got cars, then second cars - competition for on-street parking space close to the house increased almost monthly. Inconvenient! Annoying! He sometimes found himself having to park round the corner when he got home late from the office. Walking as much as 100 metres from the car to the front door showed that the years of living a life behind closed doors - the doors of his house, the doors of his office and the doors of his cars - had taken their toll. Breathlessness, flushing, sweat, knee trouble, exhaustion. Chest pains. Something had to give. He needed to park closer to the house.

Angina, diabetes, hypertension, lower back pain, gout, osteoarthritis and the poor mobility these cause have all blighted the man's life. But the chronic condition underlying all these acute symptoms is nothing other than the motorcentric sedentary lifestyle of which which his obesity is the inevitable result. Over the years, this man has become fatter and fatter, with all the concomitant conditions and societal costs. And the civic response to this self-inflicted disability? The civic response is to give pride of place to the agent of this man's dis-enablement, thus further enabling and normalising that dis-enablement and the self-disfiguring, self-damaging, self-abusive lifestyle to which it binds its subject. The strange-loop solipsism of the focal enshrinement of the motorised harbinger of obesogenic sedentarism once its inevitable omega point has been attained indicates that we approach an event horizon beyond which it will become impossible to plan or provide for modes of transport other than the private motor car, let alone imagine that any alternatives, such as actually walking - just a little - once in a while, really do exist.



Automobile dependency implies that cities where automobiles are the predominant transport deny their residents not only freedom of choice about the way they live and move around the city but also that the culture of automobile use has produced a kind of addiction to them. The analogy is made with addictions to harmful substances and activities because of the well-known law of diminishing returns in relation to increasing use or participation: the more that is used, the less of the desired effect is gained until a point is reached where the substance or activity has to be maintained to remain 'normal', a state of dependency.