Species of the Greater London National Park

A city becoming a national park? What sounds almost like a contradiction is a very real idea. As the website of the Greater London National Park Campaign explains: “Uniquely combining a biodiverse landscape with nature reserves, parks and gardens, [London] covers an area of over 1,500 km2 and is home to more than 8 million people. Recognised as one of the world’s most important urban habitats, green, blue and open spaces occupy over 60% of London. Over 1,300 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation cover 19% of [London]. Londonwide the capital is home to more than 1,500 species of flowering plants. More than 300 species of bird have been recorded in the city. With over 300 languages spoken, 170 museums, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of Britain’s National Trails the Greater London National Park* is open for you to explore.”
Pioneered by Guerrilla Geographer Dan Raven-Ellison who convinced an ever growing number of people to support him in his endeavour to turn London into the first National Park City. I was amongst those people making a little contribution by mapping out species counts from the database of Greenspace Information for Greater London. The maps were also included in the environment section of the Londonmapper project which I am working on, and they depict the distribution of each species in a cartogram-style map distorting the shapes of the London boroughs according to how many of each species have been sighted in an area. The following maps are from that series (of which I hope to get a few more mapped in future – are there any red squirrels in London?), and especially the hedgehogs came to fame during the launch of the Londonmapper website last year:

Hedgehog
London Species Map: Hedgehogs
(click for larger version)

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Changing Poverty and Wealth in England

England is increasingly divided between the rich and the poor, with a 60% increase in poor households and a 33% increase in wealthy households. This has come at a time – 1980 to 2010 – when the number of middle-income households went down by 27%.” In a Londonmapper report that was featured in today’s Observer newspaper we showed how the groups of poor and wealthy and the remaining ‘middle’ have changed in England over the past three decades.
London's Changing Wealth: Poor, Wealthy and the Middle
These two charts, showing the absolute and relative changes in the number of households in each group, highlight that poor and middle households have come to being almost equally large groups in the British capital in the period, with a clear trend in growing numbers of poor and wealthy households and a shrinking middle part. These polarising trends of growing inequality are not only prevalent in London, but also continue in the rest of the country. The following cartogram visualisation uses the absolute changes between 1980 and 2010 and shows how the increase in poverty and wealth compares across the regions of England and the Borough of London and looks at the decline in the middle in the same way. How the middle is squeezed out of London becomes particularly apparent in these images, as London dominates much of the map while growing numbers of poor and wealthy households are more evenly distributed across the country:

Visualising England's Changing Wealth(click for larger version)

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London Taxi Rides

Too much money, too little time? London’s taxi company Addison Lee is certainly aiming at a certain sub-section of the usual taxi customers, describing itself as a ‘business class car service’. It runs over 4,800 cars in central London and does around 25,000 journeys a day in and around the capital. For an infographic in their in-car magazine Add Lib I created a series of maps analysing and visualising the pick-up and drop-off locations of a typical week of journeys from their full fleet. This is how the drop-off locations were featured in their magazine:

Infographic on Drop-off locations of taxi journeys in London
(click for larger version)

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Child Poverty in London

The Campaign to End Child Poverty has today published new figures showing that London contains 14 out of the top 20 local authorities with the highest rates of child poverty across the UK.

Child Poverty Ratios in the London Boroughs, 2014
(click for larger version)

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The Cartography of Riots

The riots of August 2011 took the nation by surprise. Consternation followed as events appeared to spiral out of control, then condemnation. Later reflection, and the compilation of hundreds of statistics on the rioters who were convicted. Much was also written about those who were not caught but were interviewed, as well as on the severity of the sentences handed down to the minority of rioters who were caught, or identified and convicted. Prison sentences totalling more than 1,800 years were handed down with an average custodial sentence of nearly 17 months (more than four times the average term handed down by magistrates courts for similar offences).
Court cases related to the August 2011 riots in England Continue reading

In Focus: 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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