One of several problems with this new housing on the ridge overlooking Sudbury is that the horizon has been broken by buildings, making it close and limited. Horizons are like frontiers: places of potential simply because they are so abstract and so distant. They appear without scale, the line between land and sky. Here there is a horizon limited by the temporal and limited quality of the housing development. A roof is not a horizon.
There was much made in rural Britain in the 1960s about preserving horizons: one could build on a hillside as long as the roof line did not interrupt the natural top of the hill when observed from a main road, or a town, or a footpath – in other words, nothing could be built on top of a hill because it interrupted some sort of sacred understanding of topography.
Behind this row of drab new housing is a field of rubble: the process by which rock, seen as obstructive, is reduced to ground, seen as fertile for building. It is a small tragedy; the mistake would be to think that it is the rapacious nature of development or the limited thinking that insists that services be installed as if it was a loamy field.
Instead, the tragedy is one of imagination. There is value in a difficult landscape millions of years old that puts a natural limit on building within it. In our late capitalist world progression is still seen as positive, growth is necessary, stasis indicates a slipping backward, rather than a stillness. Must this be? Why must Sudbury try to expand, and so expand into newer and more difficult terrain?