Friday, 24 July 2009

Connected London

This is a short post about some recent GIS-related work I've been doing. I've moved on from all the original flow-mapping geovisualisation stuff to consider how best to illustrate spatial dynamics for urban systems. One way is a 3D geovisualisation of the kind shown below.

What I did was create a raster surface of net commuting (by district) for the whole UK in 2001 (the latest data). Then I created a flow map vector layer for the UK at district level. Then I chopped out Greater London, displayed only those flows of more than 1,500 commuters, and put this together with the raster layer. The final image communicates a lot of information quite simply.

In the image below (click on it to view full size), the red peaks are areas of high in-commuting and the blue troughs are areas of out-commuting. The flow lines illustrate the spatial patterns of movement. Note the area of high in-commuting to the west of London - the Heathrow effect.

Monday, 20 July 2009

AESOP 2009 Liverpool

I've just returned from Liverpool where I attended the 2009 AESOP Conference. AESOP stands for the Association of European Schools Of Planning, but there were people there from all over the world, including Brazil, the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It was a very interesting, busy and enjoyable conference and was hosted by the Department of Civic Design at the University of Liverpool.

I presented some of my recent work on area-based initiatives and geographically-targeted policy interventions more broadly. The slide show of my presentation is below, via slideshare. In the meantime, it's back to writing and catching up with things I missed while I was away at the conference...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

'A New Vision for Urban and Metropolitan Policy'...

News of some very interesting urban policy developments from the White House blog. Yesterday, Monday 13th July 2009:

"The White House Office of Urban Affairs and the Domestic Policy Council hosted a day-long discussion about the future of America’s urban and metropolitan areas. Participants included policy experts from across the country, several cabinet members, and elected officials. Discussions covered the evolution of metropolitan areas, best practices in urban communities, and how the federal government can be a more effective partner in these communities."

A day-long discussion.

About the future of America's urban and metropolitan areas.

Are we seeing an true upswing of the policy pendulum? Will this impact on other nations? I expect the answers are 'yes' and 'yes', that's why I'm keeping a close eye on developments.

At the Roundtable Discussion some new initiatives were announced (transcript here) and during this time this happened (at 9 seconds in...):

So, some interesting developments in the US which will surely have an impact elsewhere...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Gilding the Ghetto

This post is all about a publication called Gilding the Ghetto that came out in 1977. It is something of a classic in the urban/social policy literature because of when it was written, who it was written by, and what is in it. It's also quite difficult to track down and even harder to get hold of a copy of your own (there are no more 85p copies available from The Home Office Urban Deprivation Unit!).

Since I'm currently writing about policy interventions in urban areas in the UK and elsewhere, I couldn't really overlook it; in fact, I've become quite taken with it. The report tries to make sense of urban interventions from the late 1960s to 1976 by looking mainly at the Community Development Projects (CDP) of which there were twelve, throughout Great Britain. The tone of the document is very critical but it does get to the root of the problem in many places and resonates with interventions in operation today...

"Their brief rested on three important assumptions. Firstly, that it was the 'deprived' themselves who were the cause of 'urban deprivation'. Secondly, the problem could best be solved by overcoming these people's apathy and promoting self-help. Thirdly, locally-based research into the problems would serve to bring about changes in local and central government policy." (p. 4)

Perhaps the balance between critique and solutions/recommendations could have been better, but overall this is a must-see piece of work for people working in this area. The section on 'Social pathology' on page 54 is particularly relevant in relation to how the problem is conceptualised at a national and local level.

Finally, I've scanned the front and back covers. If you click on them you will see them close to real size.