We live in one of the most urbanised countries on earth. By 2030 an estimated 92% of us will be living the urban life. Congested cities sprawl across our map, but they are not the only way to live. Smaller than a city, more intimate, more surprising: this series celebrates the perhaps forgotten world of the town.
In the series geographer and adventurer Nicholas Crane explores four iconic British towns Ludlow, Scarborough, Perth and, in the final programme to be aired this week, Totnes.
A Saxon river town in South Devon, Totnes is one of the UK's oldest towns. It has seen tough times through its long history, but adversity has taught it to innovate.
For the programme the BBC bills Totnes as "one of the greatest social experiments of the 20th Century", and uncovers how it is currently the test bed for an ambitious new idea that "aims to change our urban life forever".
As the readers of Permaculture will be aware, Totnes is the birthplace of the Transition Town movement. In Thursday's show Crane highlights what Totnes can teach us about the future of urban living.
We have been reliably informed that Transition Totnes makes up about 10-15% of the programme's content. The programme was filmed in May this year and it includes Transition founder Rob Hopkins taking Crane around various initiatives which are up and running about the town. It also shows how the success of the Totnes pound currency has been adopted by other towns and communities.
It looks like the programme is a timely reminder of what we can all do and how we can adapt. At a time when we are all tightening our belts it shows the importance of working together and communicating. Permaculture is one of the cornerstones of Transition thinking and, as Totnes illustrates, action.
Rob's roots are in permaculture and he has written for Permaculture magazine for many years.
Permaculture magazine issue 45 (autumn 2005) when Rob Hopkins' permaculture students decided to build an eco-theatre, they created a dramatic community space.
Permaculture magazine issue 46 (winter 2005) Rob Hopkins recommends 10 simple steps to get ready for a post-carbon future.
Permaculture magazine issue 50 (winter 2006) featured an article by Rob Hopkins asks how permaculture can influence the mainstream and introduces Transition Town Totnes.
Permaculture magazine issue 62 (winter 2009) Rob Hopkins explores how permaculture principles can be applied to business and encourage a transition in economic resilience.