About Urbane Musings

Me & cousin Brendan

Urbane Musings is my outlet to write about the things that most interest me. In some respects it will be a random commentary on day-to-day happenings in my life but it will also be somewhere to comment on and discuss issues relating to urbanisation and the challenges that creates. Earth is increasingly becoming an urban world with more than 50% of the population categorised as urban since 2008. This trend of ever-increasing urbanisation will continue into the future and creates many challenges for city planning and the management of energy, transportation, water and waste. These challenges can be overcome through thoughtful and decisive planning resulting in sophisticated, efficient, well-managed urban spaces. Or they can just as easily and, sadly, more frequently be mismanaged resulting in ever greater urban sprawl, pollution, transportation problems and increased pressure on the surrounding environment due to demands for energy and food.

About Me:

I am from New Zealand. I was brought up on a hill country farm outside of Masterton which is about 2 hours north of the capital, Wellington, on the east coast of New Zealand. Coming from such a rural setting it may seem strange that I should choose to blog about issues facing the city but I am not without experience of urban life. Since leaving home at the age of 17 I have lived continuously in cities of various sizes, culture and liveability. Immediately after school I moved to Tokyo, Japan for a 1 year tutorship teaching English. This was a significant culture shock for me when you consider that the Greater Tokyo Area has a population of 35 million people, nearly 10 times the population of New Zealand and 1,750 times the population of Masterton. But I survived it and following my stint in the Land of the Rising Sun I returned to the Land of the Long White Cloud, but in this case, to Wellington where I attended Victoria University to study for a Bachelor of Arts in European History & Japanese Language, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting & Commercial Law. It wasn’t many years after completing this though before itchy feet set in and I was off again, this time to Melbourne, Australia. I had visited Melbourne on holiday in February 2004, fallen in love with the city, and resigned from my job immediately upon my return to Wellington. I moved to Melbourne in June of that year. Although I have subsequently left I still consider Melbourne to be home and plan to return there again soon. During my time in Melbourne I was lucky enough to be sent to London for 3 months by my employer so I experienced another of the world’s great cities. I have to admit my commuting experience was probably slightly privileged compared to the average Londoner’s as I was put up in a lovely one-bedroom apartment not 5 minutes walk from my work in Farringdon, Central London. No crowded tube for me! But I did make the most of my time there to explore London thoroughly and I will expand on this experience in my blog. And now we arrive at the present. It is April 2010 as I am writing this and it is a lovely sunny day in my current hometown of Antwerp, Belgium.

So there was a synopsis of my urban if not urbane life. Not a huge selection of cities but a diverse one. From the vast, crowded, slick mega-metropolis of Tokyo to the small, parochial, yet proud and desperately pretty capital Wellington. From the sprawling, wide-open, car-centric spaces of Melbourne to the crowded and bustling chic of London. And finally, to the quiet urbanity of Antwerp, diamond capital of the world.

Andrew

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