diamond geezer

 Monday, June 01, 2020

The other thing I decided to count this year, as well as characters in The Archers, was the number of times I visited each London borough.

• Technically I counted the number of days I visited each borough.
• If I set foot in a borough on a particular day, that counted as 1.
• I didn't count boundary crossings because that would've been impractical.
• Standing on a station platform or riding through on a bus didn't count.


Up until Monday 16th March it was all going really well.

    Enf
4
   
  Harr
3
Barn
6
Har
6
WFor
9
  
Hill
4
Eal
6
Bren
5
Cam
11
Isl
7
Hack
13
Redb
4
Hav
3
Hou
5
H&F
5
K&C
4
West
20
City
11
Tow
76
New
37
B&D
3
 Rich
4
Wan
7
Lam
10
Sou
8
Lew
5
Grn
9
Bex
3
  King
3
Mer
5
Cro
3
Bro
5
  
   Sut
4
    

You can tell I live in Tower Hamlets because that scored the maximum possible total of 76 days.

Newham came a very strong second, partly because that's where Stratford is, but mainly because I live less than 200m from the boundary.

Westminster was third, it being the West End where much of London's important stuff is. The other high scorers were either in central London or in neighbouring boroughs. None of the high numbers were especially unexpected.

What's unusual are the outer London totals. If you'd been doing this survey there'd have been a lot of 0s, 1s and 2s, whereas my lowest total is a 3. Admittedly I get around London a lot, but even so it's not normal to make quite so many multiple journeys to the suburbs. Indeed it's surprisingly hard to accidentally go to Havering, Kingston or Harrow, and yet I managed three visits apiece in two and a half months flat.

In fact what we have here is an excellent example of Campbell's Law, which states "the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making... the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."

Counting which boroughs I'd been to made me much more aware of those I hadn't visited, and this started to colour my choices of where to go next. "I see I haven't been to Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent so far this year," I said on January 11th, so I went to Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent. "I see I've only been to Bexley twice this year," I said on March 5th, so I went to Bexley. It felt good to be exploring London so equitably, but my data was now driving my activity rather than the other way round.

And then everything changed.

On Monday 16th March non-essential travel was discouraged, since when another 76 days have passed.

My counts for the last 76 days look very different.

    Enf
0
   
  Harr
0
Barn
0
Har
0
WFor
45
  
Hill
0
Eal
0
Bren
0
Cam
0
Isl
0
Hack
45
Redb
0
Hav
0
Hou
0
H&F
0
K&C
0
West
0
City
0
Tow
76
New
57
B&D
0
 Rich
0
Wan
0
Lam
0
Sou
0
Lew
0
Grn
0
Bex
0
  King
0
Mer
0
Cro
0
Bro
0
  
   Sut
0
    

Again Tower Hamlets scores the maximum of 76 because that's where I live. But now only three other boroughs score anything at all, while the remainder of the capital remains unvisited.

You'd expect Newham's total to be high. If I can't walk too far from home, and Newham is less than three minutes away, then I'm going to be visiting Newham a lot. What really stands out are the extremely high totals for Hackney and Waltham Forest.

The explanation is that my daily exercise under lockdown generally involves walking to the top of the Olympic Park and back, and doing this always ticks off Hackney and Waltham Forest. Over 76 days I've made this walk a total of 45 times, hence the massive (and equal) totals for the two boroughs. I vary the route each time so it's never got boring, but I always make sure I get as far as the Hockey and Tennis Centre... because that's Campbell's Law distorting my behaviour again.

Without recourse to public transport or a bike, other boroughs remain awkwardly far away. The City of London would be the next closest borough, but that's a 45 minute walk along pavements not ideally suited to social distancing. Southwark is technically possible in 45 minutes if I walk through the Rotherhithe Tunnel, but I have no plans to ever do that again. Meanwhile Islington's 50 minutes away, Redbridge 55 and Greenwich (via the foot tunnel) 60, with Westminster, Camden and Barking & Dagenham further still. While I'm perfectly capable of walking that far, and walking back, I won't be rushing to try.

We'll see how the easing of lockdown goes, and how slowly the use of public transport opens up again, but I expect my counts for the next 76 days to look a lot more like Map 2 than Map 1.

Finally, here are my counts for English counties so far in 2020.

CUMBRIADURHAMTYNE AND WEARNORTHUMBERLAND
LANCASHIREWEST YORKSHIRENORTH YORKSHIREEAST YORKSHIRE
MERSEYSIDEGREATER MANCHESTERSOUTH YORKSHIRELINCOLNSHIRE
CHESHIRESTAFFORDSHIREDERBYSHIRENOTTINGHAMSHIRE
SHROPSHIREWEST MIDLANDSLEICESTERSHIRERUTLAND
HEREFORDSHIREWORCESTERSHIREWARWICKSHIRENORTHAMPTONSHIRE
GLOUCESTERSHIREBEDFORDSHIRE
1
CAMBRIDGESHIRENORFOLK
1
OXFORDSHIREBUCKINGHAMSHIRE
1
HERTFORDSHIRE
1
SUFFOLK
1
BRISTOLBERKSHIREGREATER
LONDON

152
ESSEX
1
SOMERSETSURREY
1
KENT
1
DEVON
1
WILTSHIRE
1
HAMPSHIREEAST SUSSEX
1
CORNWALL
1
DORSETISLE OF WIGHTWEST SUSSEX

I'm pleased to have visited as many as 12 counties before lockdown in March, especially managing to tick off Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. But all of these trips were of course made during the first 76 days of the year, and the entirety of the last 76 days has been spent in Greater London. I'm not holding out much hope of increasing the number of green boxes during the next few months. Sorry Midlands, sorry northern England, it may be some time.

Sometimes when you start counting something, it doesn't go to plan. But I'm pleased to have tried, because I now have a quantitative record of just how restrictive 2020 has been.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream