People who live in the countryside occasionally react with horror on learning that I live in London. “Poor you!” they shriek. “The pollution, the traffic, the crime! How do you connect with Nature in the urban sprawl? How do you walk alone and stay safe?” And on and on it goes, a general thumbs-down for those of us evidently holed up in the purgatory that the capital is perceived to be.

Cities, lest we forget, are glorious hubs of culture, art and literature – places where minds are opened. (The opening of minds is pretty important in a day and age where polarisation rules.) In the urban ...


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