Warwick Road wilderness

Following the “Minecraft my home” meet-up, my local councillor Peter Holland made the following request:

What I am hoping to do is show the Planning Committee what will be ‘lost’ if a footpath is constructed along the back of the proposed DCH/Cygnet housing development. It is only a very small strip of land which borders the gardens of the odd numbers from 41 [Warwick Road]. At present the path alongside the garden boundaries is locked outside of school hours.

The land at the rear of the gardens is currently a copse of established hazel trees, some of which are rooted in what appears to be a dilapidated Devon hedge. It is a refuge for wildlife, attracting a wide variety of birds including, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long Tail Tits, Coal Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Starling, Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap, House Sparrow, and Woodpigeon. Sparrow hawk are also occasionally seen in the local area. A number of bird species are currently using the trees and bushes for nest sites. Birds can be seen throughout most of the day foraging in the leaf litter or in the branches of the trees. During the summer months, bats are regularly found in our garden, which suggests that they may be roosting very close to the current vegetation. Bats have been witnessed flying in the gardens and the adjacent land this year from the 24 April.

It is noted that an ‘ecology zone’ is proposed within the north-east area of the housing development, but it seems illogical to destroy an established wildlife area by paving it with tarmac only to establish a new ‘ecology zone’ elsewhere. It was also noted that the environmental survey performed described a very limited array of birdlife. Quite clearly the area behind the gardens has a high level of biodiversity beyond that which was originally surveyed.

If the copse were to become a public path with access 24 hours a day, there is a security and vandalism risk to properties and boundary fence and the risk of noise from rowdy members of the public which would impact residents’ privacy. If street lighting were to be installed along the footpath, there is obvious risk of light pollution through residents’ windows.

What I would be grateful for is a Minecraft showing what the copse could look like.

Peter and I paid a site visit on Friday 22nd June, and we were joined by Mark from Exeter City Futures. I had just enough time to put together a Minecraft wilderness before the Planning  Committee meeting on the Monday.

A narrow dirt path winds through mossy stones, tall trees and saplings, creepers, ferns, grasses, fungi, and a few flowers, and eventually gets lost in the undergrowth. My version of Minecraft is a bit limited in terms of bird species, so I had to be content with releasing bats, cats, and rabbits, and a few spider webs.

It’s a small example of how Minecraft can be used to imagine our place, to the extent of forming part of an official planning meeting! Here are some real life photos, Minecraft screenshots before and after, and a video walk-through.

It’s Minecraft, but is it art?

Here are two works of art that I have installed in the St Loyes Minecraft world. What others would you like to see? Maybe Anthony Gormley’s “Angel of the North” on a high point in Ludwell Valley Park? Or “A Line Made by Walking” by Richard Long? Or you could make your own.

The Tate’s purchase in 1972 of “Equivalent VIII” by Carl Andre triggered one of the most famous public debates in Britain about contemporary art. You may also know “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, and his description of the Vogon Constructor Fleet: “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” It seemed like a fun idea to combine the two above Middlemoor roundabout!

Carl Andre / H2G2 crossover

Minecraft lends itself to reproducing more geometric art, like that of Piet Mondrian. It’s just slightly unfortunate that the Tesco car park isn’t aligned exactly N-S and E-W but on a diagonal!

Subversion in Minecraft

Previously, I’ve written about how people in St Loyes are subverting the ‘normal’ design for the car, and making desire paths. Now, in Minecraft, I’m rolling out the red carpet for these champions of life, liberty and the pursuit of walking!

Mark from Exeter City Futures is joining in too, with a small example from the bottom of Quarry Lane. How many desire paths do you take (or can you spot) on your journeys around St Loyes?