Friday, 22 August 2008

How Many People Live in Inverness?

Coming back to a familiar topic here - that of the population of places. It is interesting in its own right - see this site for information on everywhere, but it is also pretty important in terms of policy formulation, implementation and delivery. Examples include Manchester's missing 25,000, (which equates to £7.5m in funding) and Slough's undercount of new migrants from outside the UK (which also has relevance for the Inverness case). Inverness is where I'm from and it's grown pretty quickly in terms of population over the past 20 years in particular, but there's some doubt as to exactly how many people live there. Everyone has ideas about this - from more generous figures (giving a 'city-region' population of 66,000 in 2001) to figures for the 'city' itself - a rather more conservative 40,949. This just illustrates the inherent difficulties in defining the population of places that have no statutory boundaries. Even if that was the case, the difference between city populations and urban area populations is often very large, as in the case of Manchester (the district) and the Manchester city-region.

So, I've done a bit of analysis, as follows. I attached the data zones for the Inverness city area (core city plus Smithton, Balloch, Culloden and other bits here and there) to the data zones for which we have mid-year 2006 population estimates and come up with a population of 54,685. I make no claims that this is a definitive representation of the population if Inverness but it does give an idea of how many people live in the area shown in the image below showing the google map of the population of Inverness that I've created. [The map may take a moment to load over a slower connection and I may eventually move it off the server it's on right now so the link may eventually die, but the screenshot below is good forever.]

So, once and for all the question has been answered. Or has it?

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Urban Change in Chicago

Not much to say today but I thought I'd post this photo from my recent visit to Chicago. I took it during a tour of Chicago public housing (see, we do serious things at conferences). The school is no longer there and much of the neighbourhood is no longer there but the sign lingers on. It makes you wonder why it was there in the first place. Chicago is fascinating from this perspective but it's people's neighbourhoods and people's lives that are affected so it was good to meet a local activist and get the low-down from the inside. It also made me think back to Hoop Dreams and the relationships between people and places.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Deprivation and Spatial Context - The NNIMD

Time for a short post on some of my more recent work. A lot of what I do deals with areas, deprivation and trying to understand the links between the two. Since I live in Liverpool and work in Manchester, I've got a good idea about how some of the most deprived (according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation) areas look, where they are and how spatially clustered they are. I also think that the way we identify which areas ought to be the focus of policy could do with some refinement.

So, here's what I've done. I took the 2004 IMD data and created what I like to call the NNIMD. That is, the Nearest Neighbour Index of Multiple Deprivation. I've written a paper on this for a journal (to appear around October 2009) but I decided in the meantime to update the work for the 2007 IMD and post on it here. The NNIMD takes the IMD scores for all neighbours of an area and averages them to give what you might call a 'spatial context' or 'neighbourhood' deprivation value for each lower layer super output area.

This process is repeated for the entire country (England) so that for each of the 32,482 lower layer super output areas we have a score which provides intelligence on the kind of neighbourhood it sits in, at least in terms of the IMD deprivation score. Yes, it's not perfect and yes there are issues with the definitions of 'neighbourhood' that we have to use, but it's a good start on the way to understanding local spatial context and the role this might play in neighbourhood outcomes. I plan to continue this work in the future, but for now here's a couple of graphics showing how Liverpool looks using the 2007 IMD (first map) and the 2007 NNIMD (second map). [Note: the colour spectrum goes from blue (least deprived) to red (most deprived).]