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One aspect of settlement work is to look at the CBD. The identification of the CBD is a frequent topic of enquiry at GCSE level.
Now open is a new museum of city life. It's located in Manchester near Victoria station and is called URBIS. As of the beginning of MAY 2003 a new section of the website called URBIS RESOURCES has gone live. This offers information relating to the exhibits. There are also a few good Flash games to play.
The museum offers free teacher visits, and teacher packs for AS Geography issues relating to settlement. I visited in July 2003 and it's very impressive! For 2005 they have an exhibition of architect Will Alsop's bold vision of a SUPERCITY for the North of England. What's your opinion ? Have you been yet ?
TO THE SUBURBS & BEYOND
A series of organisations have their concerns about the possible relaxing of green belt laws to allow for the large scale building which may be required to provide the 4 million or so extra houses that are apparently needed as we live ever more solitary and long lives.
"Sprawl is low density development beyond the edge of service and employment, which separates where people live from where they shop, work, recreate and educate, thus requiring cars to move between zones"
Most cities have undergone a lot of change over the years in the types of housing that are found in different areas. There is a lot of interesting work to be done on the ages of houses, and there are various clues that can be used to determine the age of a property and place it in its historical context. Obviously position relative to the CBD is one large clue.
Most towns will probably have a 'live issue' with housing developments planned in certain areas. Some of these may encroach on greenbelt land, or they may be occurring in areas where there are already pressures on housing. There are often pressures on the developers to make some of the houses 'affordable'.
In King's Lynn at the moment there are plans for housing in South Wootton and the Grange estate. Both have their objectors (as would any large scale development). People are concerned about flood risk, traffic problems and concerns about local schools which are already over-subscribed. At rush hour, there are often queues of traffic in the areas where the houses are being planned. The water table is likely to change as a result of these developments. On the other hand, there is a demand for the housing, particularly for those local people unable to get onto the housing ladder.
There was a useful recent article on the BBC website about the settlement of BOURNVILLE: a Birmingham estate build by George Cadbury of chocolate fame. The title of the article is "Is this the nicest place to live in Britain ?"
LIVING STREETS aims to revitalise neighbourhoods.
HIGH RISE FLATS
I did a few searches on 'High rise flats' and discovered a lot of useful material. They have a reputation for being monolithic concrete slabs which imprison their residents. It's possible to find various local authority sites, such as Birmingham have details on why they built their flats and the changes in policy. Sheffield has its fair share too: Kelvin etc.
One of the most famous (or infamous) tower blocks (apart from Ronan Point perhaps) is TRELLICK TOWER. These were designed by someone called Erno Goldfinger, who was apparently a friend of Ian Fleming's and inspired the James Bond baddie. The material is reinforced concrete. Built in 1973, in a style called 'brutalist'. It started out as an award winning block, then went into decline, associated with vandalism and drug abuse. A full description of the history of the towers is available on the PORTOWEBBO site. Try SKYSCRAPERS.COM for more.
Sheffield had a lot of HIGH RISE FLATS: KELVIN and HYDE PARK to name but two. Some of these have been demolished, others are being, or have been, refurbished.
The 7-11 WEBLINKS area of the SLN GEOGRAPHY website has a SHEFFIELD entry, produced by Mister P. This has links to sites with information on high rise flats.
Recently, High Rise flats have become popular again. A 47 storey high residential glass tower block called BEETHAM TOWER is being built (as of March 2004) in Manchester. The basic problem is that there will be problems for people affording traditional homes in the future, as well as the problems of finding space to build them. One way of achieving a high density of housing is to build upwards: as Yazz said.... What do you mean, you don't know who Yazz is...
This is a more 'sustainable' use of an area of land. A similar project in London called SKYHOUSE plans to offer one bedroom flats from £70,000 which is unheard of for London. There are other projects in the pipeline: Frank Geary's controversial plans for Brighton, and other plans near the Tate Modern in London. The problem is in getting over the poor reputation that the design has acquired from the original High Rise blocks in the 1960's. These tended to be poorly constructed, and had poor security regimes.
Here's a picture of a HIGH RISE BLOCK that those of you of a certain age will remember: the home of MARY MUNGO and MIDGE... I have the whole series on DVD and the opening titles are a useful starter... They even come with a starter question "Do you live in a town ?"
If there is an urban area which you are investigating which you are not familiar with, you can find a lot about them if you know the postcode by entering it into one of these sites: UP MY STREET or HOMECHECK. Some of these are also used by people checking out the area they want to move to.
Why not find some aerial photographs of settlements, at places like WEBB AVIATION for example, and investigate the different types of settlement types: linear, nucleated, dispersed - perhaps compare them with maps via an online mapping site, or you may find one of the areas where this is possible anyway.
This is a destination that we use with 'AS' students.
There is obviously the 'official' CAMBRIDGE authority site.
Cambridge is an important TOURIST destination in the summer.
This is an oft-used area for Urban redevelopment case studies. The area has had a lot of investment in infrastructure as well as lots of changes of use. Consider the Docklands Light Railway, the Airport and the Canary Wharf development. Many sites will have useful images for you to use.
Many textbooks feature the LDDC. There are also various PHOTO and VIDEO resources which we have access to.
Consider the following excellent detail on the sort of impression that different people have of the changes that have taken place. GeoDave on the SLN Forum created the following post to the forum:
"It is difficult not to be impressed by the area around Canary Wharf - I like the mix of historic docks and modern high-rise architecture and from an economic point of view, the area appears to be thriving.
However, if you take the
time to walk about 800 metres away from Canary Wharf you will find yourself next
to the same block of flats where I lived over 25 years ago. The obvious signs of
poverty are everywhere - the peeling paintwork, the smell of urine in the lifts,
the rubbish lying around, the old abandoned cars. Ask the people living in the
council flats whether they think Docklands is a better place. A survey carried
out in 1996 found that "28% of local people believed that the LDDC had made no
difference to their standard of living in the past 15 years, and 22% said life
had actually got worse". Follow the Manchester Road and Westferry Road that
loops around the Isle of Dogs - the land on the river side has almost all been
built on - row upon row of mostly very expensive flats with a river view
(surrounded by high fences, razor wire and signs warning people not to trespass
on the land alongside the flats). Cross the road and you will see huge areas of
still derelict land - the developers have (as yet) no interest in this land.
Even in these inflationary times some of this property remains rather exclusive:
"£390,000, 2 bedroom flat
16 Westferry Road, Limehouse, London E14
Millennium Harbour is located at the Northern most part of Westferry Road just due South of the Canary Wharf complex. The development is a walk away from most of the investment banks in the area. It is gated, has a porter and has gym facilities."
"£1,025,000, 3 bedroom flat
Westferry Circus, Limehouse, London E14
Located in the most desirable location close to Canary Wharf is a premiere development called Canary Riverside. A few minutes walk over the octagonal designed Westferry Circus garden will place you at the doorsteps of banks such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston. The residents of these properties have all of the comforts associated with top class, professional living."
To understand the complex geography of this area you need to delve beneath and around the glossy core. Within 'spitting distance' of the Canary Wharf towers is a local primary school - it is full of the children of Bengali migrants not the sons and daughters of the professional classes.
Ultimately, I suspect the remaining East End locals will get pushed out of this area. The City of London will merge with the Isle of Dogs (classic zone of assimilation) and the CBD will extend further and further eastwards.
If someone asks me "what would have happened if the LDDC hadn't moved into the area", I can't answer that question - I just feel uncomfortable about the results. Textbooks often paint a very simplistic, very clinical view of urban change."
Think about how you would find details such as this in various locations on the web and how you could turn these into role cards for students. Or use background information to caption images so that you give either a POSITIVE or NEGATIVE view of the changes in the same image...
Lister's Mill (Manningham Mills)
This is a landmark to be found in the West Yorkshire city of Bradford. It lay empty for some time, after having employed 11 000 people at one time.
This project will take around 10 years to develop.
URBAN SPLASH is the company behind the project to redevelop Lister's Mill
Who lives in a town like this ?
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