City Road Cardiff Essays

Intrepid reporter Gareth Bundy has been out undercover, examining the teeny weeny inconspicuous little fence that’s currently slicing through Cardiff ahead of the NATO summit. How he found it, I’ll never know. Apparently it’s still unconfirmed whether any of them will actually be making it to Cardiff. Which is exactly what the massive fence tells us, right? Anyway, this is the first time we’ve ever published an essay about a security fence, so I for one am enjoying that, if nothing else. Enjoy. Helia x

Cardiff’s “Ring of Steel” – A security fence essay for We Are Cardiff

On the 4 and 5 of September 2014, Newport welcomes world leaders (including President Obama) for the NATO Summit. There is a possibility that the leaders may dine at Cardiff Castle. For this reason a precautionary “Security Fence” – referred to locally as “The Ring of Steel” – has been erected around part of the city.

Our city is under siege! Or is it? Anyone approaching from the north would be forgiven for thinking they were entering a militarised zone or a low-security prison rather than one of the richest cultural locations in Wales.

The construction of the fence, some three weeks before the summit itself, has already caused traffic chaos and has resulted in bus stop closures, delays and detours to public transport routes. Cardiff Council is recommending drivers use public transport for the coming weeks while also promising long delays on all inter-city bus routes. Great news all round.

Encircling Cardiff Castle and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, running from North Road, through Duke Street and into Bute Park, the eight-foot-high ribbon of metal has transformed our city from a vibrant, beautiful place into something resembling a vast internment camp.

Also, dotted throughout the City Centre, are large yellow “checkpoints” that will most likely be manned by police in early September. One wonders what exactly the cost of such a project must be. And who is picking up the tab?

At the moment traffic is able – save for delays – to flow freely alongside the fence, within its “containment area”. However, one again wonders whether the roads “inside” the fence will be a “no-go zone” by 4 September 2014.

This imposing structure runs not only around Cardiff City Centre but also along the perimeter of the Celtic Manor Resort, the venue for the NATO Summit. Even here, it is ugly, though it likely will not have as much of an impact as it surely will in Cardiff, on tourism, local businesses and public transport.

While, to me, there is a nervous beauty to man-made structures dumped inexplicably into a beautifully natural landscape, I don’t think anyone could offer a valid defence of such a monstrosity as this fence snaking its way through Bute Park’s breath-taking wooded walkways.

Conclusion of sorts…

Is there any need for this to be built? Should the public be disrupted to such a degree on the off-chance Obama decides to pop into town for a snack? And just how much of an effect will this hideous construct have on the local economy? I suppose only time will tell.

Photographs and Words by Gareth Bundy @gabundy.


Editor’s note:

For more information on the massive inconvenience that this whole NATO thing is bringing to the city, check the following:

9,500 police drafted in for Nato summit in Wales (Guardian) (this article also confirms that costs for policing NATO are coming from a central pot rather than from the local forces)

For a full list of bus route changes, visit

Nato Summit 2014: More than 40 schools in Cardiff hit by shorter days, closures and other changes during September 4-5 showcase (Wales Online)

If you’re interested in getting a little closer to nature near the fence, those clever folks at Green City are doing a ‘Forage around the Fence’ event on the 6 September, which to be honest, sounds pretty flipping lovely! More information about that on the Forage around the Fence Facebook page

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Tags: Gareth Bundy, NATO summit Newport, Ring of Steel Cardiff

Life is a beautiful thing. Everyone has an interesting story about their life. It is known that what is good for one person may not be good for another person. For example, some people always prefer to live in a big city, and some people prefer to live in a small town. Everyone has different points of view for that. A person has different thinking and reason to choose a place for living. Jobs, education, family, lifestyle, personal development and some other factors are responsible for choosing their place to live.

Both living in a big city and living in small town has its advantages and disadvantages. First of all, In a small town, you can build up a good community connection with people. Mostly, everyone knows each other. It gives you the opportunity of receiving help whenever you need it. In a small town, people usually have their own business or their own agricultural development. Life is very peaceful in a small town compared to the big city. People are always free to help each other. In a big city, life is very busy.

A person can also make a good community connection in a big city, but because of a busy lifestyle, it is hard to be connected every time. You cannot easily get help like you can in small town. In other words, in a big city a person just has himself. Secondly, people choose to live in a big city because of job opportunities. In a small town, there are limited local jobs available. There may be businesses hiring like grocery stores, gas stations and fast food chains. In a big city, you can get lots of job opportunities.

There are also job opportunities that have special training and higher education, creating a chance for higher wages and more promotions such as headquarters for corporations. Working for a big company has great benefits that a small town business can’t offer, like an opportunity to meet new and interesting people in the job. Also, the crime rate in a big city is very high. Sometime people choose to live in a small town because of that reason. It is always said that to live in a smaller community is always safer.

Education is one of the reasons for living in a big town or city. Both cities and small towns have good and bad schools. However, there are a lot of options in a big city. Most small towns have one or two high schools. On the other hand, a big city has more schools than that. In a big city, you have the option for your career making field. A Big city has universities, colleges and schools. Because of that you can go to more sporting venues, like NBA Basketball games, NBA Football games, as well as many minor league or major league sporting events.

Small towns offer you local high school sports. When you live in a big city, you have much greater access to a variety of entertainment venues, and you are exposed to all sorts of different cultures. Cities also have all sorts of music festivals, comedy festivals, and other events that happen on a fairly regular basis. By contrast, small towns generally don’t have nearly as much variety. Furthermore, Small towns rarely have a formal public transportation system. People must need to buy their own vehicle or depend on others for a ride.

Owning your own vehicle is helpful. However, after that it will start to cost for costly gas and insurance. A Big city has multiple forms of public transportation like taxis, cabs, and a bus system. You can always use a public transportation for reasonable price. At the same time, many people are attracted to small town life. If you are active in town events such as school functions, hometown sports games, fairs and festivals and local politics. These allow a relationship to grow inside and outside of your immediate family.

The population in a big city is always larger. That can give you a feeling that you are lost or unimportant. With this erratic lifestyle, it is less likely you will see your family regularly. It is easy for one to get involved with too many activities and miss out on “home” because the big city offers numerous activities. In the end, both a city and a small town have advantages and disadvantages. As I said before, everyone has different thinking and points of view to choose a place for living a life. In the end it depends on where a person wants to live.

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