Once upon a time there was a country called Europe

‘We cannot aim at anything less than the Union of Europe as a whole, and we look forward with confidence to the day when that Union will be achieved’

Map of Europe at Night shown on a gridded population cartogram
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things
(click here for larger version of the map)

It may sound inconceivable today that a statement such as the above could be made by a British Prime Minister and even more so by the leader of the Conservative Party. Yet, this is an extract from a speech delivered by Winston Churchill at the Congress of Europe in The Hague on 7 May 1948. It is just an example of numerous similar statementsand activities supporting European integration and union. These were part of wider efforts and actions by the people of a continent shattered by war towards a common purpose and future, which have been imaginatively ‘narrated’ by a member of Europe’s next generation in an award-winning video ‘We are Europe’ – see below. These efforts have been steadily leading towards a Europe United in Diversity and to the formation of a European identity underpinned by common values and ideals such as the establishment of democratic institutions, the respect of human rights and the protection of minorities, as well as solidarity and social cohesion. Continue reading

Displaced lifes: Escaping conflict, violence and disaster

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Every minute eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.” This is the background to the UN General Assembly’s decision to declare June, 20th as World Refugee Day. As the UN estimates, about “43.3 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution” by the end of 2011. This includes several groups of people, categorised in refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees. The following two maps put a spotlight on the geographic distribution of two of these groups. The first map visualises data on displaced people from a recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The organisation estimates figures on people who are internally displaced “caused by conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations and natural hazard-induced disasters”. The cartogram shows the countries of the world resized according to the total number of internally displaced people there, adding up to 33.3 million according to IDMC’s report:

Map of internally displaced people in the world
(click for larger version)

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The London Housing Bubble

Political InsightIn an article for the “In Focus” section of Political Insight (April 2014, Volume 5, Issue 1) Danny Dorling and I looked at the overheating of the housing market in London. The graphics that I created for this feature visualise the considerable changes that took place in recent years using data from an analysis reported in the Guardian: In 2012, the total value of residential property in London was reported to be £1.37 trillion. The value of housing in the capital dominated the UK housing market. By 2013, the value of London housing had risen to £1.47 trillion. Some £100 billion had been added in just one year, an additional £30,000 per property if the rise had been evenly spread out across the capital. However, just as within England, this increase was concentrated within certain areas, particularly those closest to the centre.
When London is redrawn with each borough sized according to the value of residential property, the largest borough becomes Kensington and Chelsea where the average home now costs £1.57 million. Westminster, with more housing but an average value of ‘only’£1.1 million is almost as large. Wandsworth, more typical at £527,000 a home, is more than three times the size of Newham despite having just 30 per cent more homes. However, even in Newham, the ‘cheapest borough’, the average property now sells for over £218,000.

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London Borough Elections 2014

The London borough elections were held on May 22nd. A total of 1851 council seats (and also four mayoralties) were contested in 32 of the 33 boroughs in the British capital. The following map series produced for the Londonmapper Project shows the distribution of 1843 of the seats in the local councils as published on the London Councils election website (five seats in Tower Hamlets were still missing from the results, while the remaining seats are elected at postponed elections in a few of the wards). The maps show the individual distribution for each of the five main parties, i.e. Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Green Party (in order of their total number of seats) as well as Others (which are independent candidates as well as groups that only stood in individual borough, such as Tower Hamlets First who won 18 seats there). These are the new political shapes of London after what has been a small political earthquake in the country:

London Borough Elections 2014 - Vote Distribution
(click for larger version)

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Hedgehogs and beyond: Introducing Londonmapper

LondonmapperGood things come to those who wait. Today we are officially launching the Londonmapper website, a project that I started working on following the completion of my PhD in 2011. Over the past 2 1/2 years we developed the scope of the project which aims to become a new Social Atlas of London, a project that has not been undertaken since Shepherd et al’s work in the 1970s. But it wouldn’t be me if this would be an ordinary mapping project. Londonmapper is a growing collection of all kinds of cartograms that map a wide range of data to give a comprehensive picture of the diversity in the city. Continue reading