George Mamouzellos

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Millions Dollar Playground Darwin style!

Darwin Parks are Conflict Factories

The violent, drunken, antisocial behaviour in Darwin parks isn't a surprise. It is a 100% expected predictable outcome.

Many, if not most of our parks have become unpleasant, unattractive, and very frequently unsafe. At night, some parklands are outright dangerous.

Many people are so angry about it all that they can barely have a conversation. People tend to start yelling, start pointing fingers, or stay silent because the issue is so emotional, and complicated, at the same time.

None of those are good. It is time for a bit of honest, cause & effect type thinking.

The average suburban Darwinite sees our green open spaces as a good place to kick a football. Those kinds of people, who live in houses, and who usually have jobs or cars, think in a metropolitan type way. They think like "city" people.

When "city" people see parklands, they usually think "Hey, good place for a picnic".

Other groups of people, who are sometimes visiting Darwin from far-away places, mostly do not have a house, job, or car. They do not think in a metropolitan way. They think like "not-city" people.

When "not-city" people see parklands, they often think "Hey, good camp site".

When you have 2 different groups of people, who have very different thinking, expectations, or behaviour, who then try to use the same piece of land at the same time, the inevitable outcome is conflict.

Two groups of people looking at the same spot, where one group says "picnic", and the other says "campsite" is a big problem, because those two uses of the same open space are not compatible.

I cannot stress enough that the issue is not bad or incompatible people. It is incompatible use of land.

City-thinking people say that the other group is ruining their park - and they are right.

Not-city thinking people say that the other people are ruining their campsite - and they are right.

Which then brings us to a third group of people, who have done something really, shockingly irresponsible.

It is those people in Parliament House, and in Council Chambers, who have created public spaces that can not in any reasonable way be shared due to excessive social overlap of differently thinking, but good, people.

To stress it again - Good people. Bad compatibility. Bad land sharing.

So. This is a big and complex problem. Big complex problems require big honesty, big heartedness, good spirit, and a willingness to see things from different points of view, exactly as they are.

Solving these kinds of problems also requires as many people as possible participating in the conversation, which has to happen a little bit at a time.

I have been asked to write a series of articles like this, saying things as they are right now, and then another one saying things as they were in the year 2000, and then in 1980, on and on, from multiple points of view, to help people talk to one another without fighting.

Please feel welcome to have your say, without talking about things that should be said in relation to the other articles that will be written, using only cause & effect type thinking. Otherwise, any discussion turns into a mess. Have your say in the right spot, please.

Also try your best to be nice to others. They're probably as upset as you are.

As usual, Sensible People, these articles are written in a conversational way, for easy reading. Share them in any way that you like, or write the name of a friend, if you think the subject is interesting enough.

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