Within a city centre or the CBD there is constant change, otherwise known as dynamic change. In all major cities this must occur to enable the city to keep in touch with the developing world, and so that a certain city is not left behind regarding developments.
What though is defined as the City centre and the Inner City, and how is this distinguished? In the majority of major cities around the world there is a very debatable definition of the CBD and the inner city. In the example of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the CBD is defined as the heart of the city centre containing the high value properties and usually the retailing and commercial core of the city with the headquarters of banks, building societies and insurance company. On the other hand, the inner city is also known as the ‘frame’ of the city where rents are rates are low. Cities are a growing place and they can only get bigger and better than what they were say 40 years ago.
In the 1960’s comprehensive redevelopment affected CBD’s as well as the inner city around the country. In many cities the historical core was bulldozed to make way for new shopping centres such as the Bull Ring in Birmingham and Eldon Square in Newcastle. The majority of these developments were criticized for their stark appearance of glass and concrete. The reasons been that shop frontages were depressingly uniform and office blocks were often functional but monotonous tower blocks. These changes blighted not only the CBD but also parts of the inner cities and caused increased traffic and pollution.
So what then are the changes being made to the inner city and the CBD to allow this redevelopment to occur? The major changes are gentrification and decentralisation of the industry, people, shops and offices. Gentrification has been a feature in both the CBD and the inner city areas of cities in the UK, e.g. Newcastle Quayside, and it includes the redevelopment of shop fronts and buildings in the CBD and the inner city.
Decentralisation is the moving away from city centre locations. This is occurring because people are upset at the state of the city centres due to pollution, traffic and noise, and feel that this will be avoided if they move to the rural – urban fringe.
Another major change is that of the pedestrianisation of the CBD for the benefit of the general public. The local example of this is York. In York the majority of the streets and roads were generally too small and narrow for any traffic to pass through anyway and so the York City Council decided that it would be a huge benefit to everyone if the streets were pedestrianised. What changes need to occur for this to be completed successfully? The obvious change is to change the material of the road. In York, the small and narrow roads were changed to cobbles for pedestrians to walk comfortably down, without all the traffic congestion, noise pollution and just general pollution.
The beautification of the CBD is yet another change and most cities have received something of a face-lift in recent years with schemes to enhance the environment. Such schemes include adding attractive street furniture, floorscaping of pavements and roads, tree planting, and pedestrianisation which I mentioned earlier. Covent Garden in London has seen similar changes since the fruit and vegetable market moved to Vauxhall in 1974. The old central market was renovated to provide accommodation for numerous small shops, bars and restaurants. A new market opened in 1980 and five years later Covent Garden became the second most popular tourist attraction in London, due to beautification.
In the case of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the city needed a lot of redevelopment to ensure it kept up with the ‘image’ of a ‘traditional’ city, and to reverse the decline it was suffering. Newcastle-upon-Tyne lies on the north bank of the River Tyne in north-east England. During the 1950’s there was a decline in the traditional industries leading to decay in parts of the CBD and the inner city. There was a need to redevelop areas including the decaying inner city terraces to adapt to the modern day living. Newcastle is the regional shopping centre for the north-east; however, development schemes have being needed in order for the city to maintain its leading position for retailing.
The major shopping centre in Newcastle is apparent to everybody, the Metro Centre. This is one of the major shopping centres around the country including St John’s at Leeds, Meadowhall in Sheffield and Salford Quays in Manchester. The Metro Centre was planned to be a major out-of-town retailing and leisure facility with free parking for 10,000 cars and new bus and rail stations. The Metro Centre though posed a threat to the success of Newcastle’s CBD and is considered by some to have been the impetus to further improvements to Eldon Square.
My major point been, is that, like the majority of UK major cities and worldwide major cities, a dynamic change must occur to maintain standards but to also attract people to these places to bring in money for further redevelopment. The dynamic change is required throughout major cities and without it; they would become a huge place of decline, due to the lack of pedestrianisation, gentrification and beautification. These are your three main areas to consider when planning reversing decline within a city centre and the inner city.
In what ways are the economy, social structures and environment of the central areas affected by continual (dynamic) change?
In Geography today, we consider a word S.E.E.P in our studies when considering such things as areas being affected by a certain aspect, e.g. CBD affected by continual change. Within this question, we are considering the Social Structures, Economy and Environment but the missing letter is ‘P’, this is the political. Each of these are considered in such a case and this will be the plan for my answer to this question.
With continual change constantly taking place in cities all kinds of people and places are damaged within this process. The social structures of the CBD will be most affected of the four because for example, pedestrianisation of roads and streets. If pedestrianisation is occurring in a CBD and inner city areas, then the public people are going to be a lot happier to a certain extent. With there being no traffic flying through streets, the public generally feel safer knowing that they are not going to be mowed down. In no myself when I go to York, I much prefer it now because the streets are traffic, pollution and noise free and it is much more comfortable and relaxing to shop and look around, enjoying the historical city.
This change in CBD’s and surrounding areas though can also have a negative affect on Social Structures. The people who feel that they cannot go to the shops and the shopping centres without a car, now feel that they have be parked a distance away and so have to find either bus or walk to get to the places they wish to be and this can cause unrest between the public and the council. The public not being able to get their shopping to their cars easily will have complaints to make and this will then give the council the opportunity to say “Well, we can please a majority but it is impossible to please them all!”, and this is true.
Other factors can increase this matter though such as beautification of the CBD which has a huge affect on social structures. Beautification of the CBD, such as plant trees, supply city furniture etc has a positive effect on the people both commuting and staying in the CBD. This beautification ties hand in hand with the pedestrianisation and this also leads to the aspect of park and ride, which is a major attraction and resolution to the people complaining about them having to travel. The beautification also increases the relationship between the shops and the public because it attracts the public to the shops if it is clean, tidy and hassle free, therefore encouraging not only the economy of the shop and companies but the city centre itself also.
Economically, the dynamic change of CBD’s and inner cities is a huge advantage. In the example of Covent Gardens, London the whole area has changed since the fruit and vegetable market moved to Vauxhall in 1974. This was a huge change for London at this time and it helped the city as a whole, economically.
The main factor again increasing this is beautification. Like Covent Gardens, the areas of CBD’s and inner cities are being brightened up using tress, street furniture and pedestrianisation which all lead to the economy. Covent Gardens under went a huge change in the 1980’s when it opened a new market and generally made the place look more attractive which then lead to the Gardens becoming the second most popular tourist attraction in London, following the London Docklands.
This increase in beautification is the major factor because it is attracting people back into the CBD and spending money in the shops and shopping centres, bringing money in to the cities economy and enabling it then to grow using the money it receives after making the city a nicer place to visit for all, including commuters and residents.
The environment will obviously take most of the strain but will increase in certain ways as well. With the main aim again in the CBD’s to develop the city centre into a place people want to visit via Beautification, the environment will suffer but then will grow and increase again due to the positive factors of the changes.
With the beautification taking place this is increasing the environment because it makes it look more attractive, it attracts people from around the country like Covent Gardens but also it makes the CBD a safe and enjoyable place. The major influencing change is that of pedestrianisation, which makes it a safer environment for the public to walk around and complete their shopping. This includes placing pebbles and cobbles in the narrow streets and roads like York City Centre to stop any traffic coming down, to stop any pollution through fumes and to avoid the fumes damaging shop fronts and destroying the history like in York.
The next thing is the gentrification which involves the improvement of shop fronts and the demolishing of old buildings to replace with new modern building, but as we know now in certain CBD’s there is a law order to say that certain buildings must stay were they are if they are historical or of some historical background. This then stops the CBD from becoming a over modern centre that is unattractive for everybody.
There is still a problem with pollution and traffic congestion in some major cities because perhaps they are slightly behind with the modernisation and gentrification of their city centres. An example of this is Leeds City Centre which is slowly modernising but still suffers from pollution and crime and what have you because of its distinct lack of pedestrianisation, gentrification and decentralisation and so at this moment in time, is a slowly rapidly declining city that needs to be reversed out of the decline to start attracting people back.
Environmentally, the dynamic change is a bad thing because of decentralisation. The increase of decentralisation which includes the movement of people and businesses from the CBD and the rural-urban fringe, is destroying the rural-urban fringe because new industrial sites are having to be built which need roads and motorways, also damaging the environment and the visual aspect of the CBD and inner city.
All factors of industry, history and businesses are affected by dynamic change in the CBD and inner city areas. These include the economical, political which is missing from the question, environmental and social status, which are being affected either for the good or the bad by this dynamic change, in some cases such as Leeds, this dynamic change needs to occur sooner or later before it enters raid decline.