Time for a short post on some of my more recent work. A lot of what I do deals with areas, deprivation and trying to understand the links between the two. Since I live in Liverpool and work in Manchester, I've got a good idea about how some of the most deprived (according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation) areas look, where they are and how spatially clustered they are. I also think that the way we identify which areas ought to be the focus of policy could do with some refinement.
So, here's what I've done. I took the 2004 IMD data and created what I like to call the NNIMD. That is, the Nearest Neighbour Index of Multiple Deprivation. I've written a paper on this for a journal (to appear around October 2009) but I decided in the meantime to update the work for the 2007 IMD and post on it here. The NNIMD takes the IMD scores for all neighbours of an area and averages them to give what you might call a 'spatial context' or 'neighbourhood' deprivation value for each lower layer super output area.
This process is repeated for the entire country (England) so that for each of the 32,482 lower layer super output areas we have a score which provides intelligence on the kind of neighbourhood it sits in, at least in terms of the IMD deprivation score. Yes, it's not perfect and yes there are issues with the definitions of 'neighbourhood' that we have to use, but it's a good start on the way to understanding local spatial context and the role this might play in neighbourhood outcomes. I plan to continue this work in the future, but for now here's a couple of graphics showing how Liverpool looks using the 2007 IMD (first map) and the 2007 NNIMD (second map). [Note: the colour spectrum goes from blue (least deprived) to red (most deprived).]