Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Population 'explosion' in English city centres

A paper I wrote about English urban policy and the 'return' to the city is now out in Cities, so I thought I'd blog about it. It's just something I wrote after the first release of small area data from the 2011 Census and the results are not entirely surprising to those with a knowledge of these things but the scale of change over the decade from 2001 to 2011 was pretty big, particularly in the case of Manchester, which I've written about previously. I also reflect upon wider international issues associated with 'reurbanization' (with a z because it's a US journal!) so I think that although the focus is on England it should have wider resonance.

I discuss this growth in the context of New Labour's urban policies, and particularly those which emerged from the Urban White Paper of 2000. Although some of the aims were achieved (e.g. making city centres look nicer, with better design), I conclude that the changes have been mostly superficial and that perpetually high levels of inner city deprivation in cities which were the main foci for urban policy during this period does not represent a very positive legacy, despite the 'success' of getting people to move back to the city. The fact that this picked up immediately by @urbandata suggests that these themes are also relevant in the United States, and beyond. It's a short paper but I hope to follow up on it at some point* with more detailed data on tenure, etc. to dig a little deeper.

*This is normally code for 'it will never happen'!