The London Docklands is an area that has undergone redevelopment. Explain why this was needed and evaluate its success
Think about the following:-
* Why did the area go into decline?
* What were the problems in the area?
* How was the redevelopment undertaken?
* Has the redevelopment been successful?
London Docklands became a port during the Roman times and it was a very important one because it was a nodal point of many rivers. Itself, it was the river Thames. Many goods were sold alongside this river, and the port became very busy. But later on, the river became too busy and large ships could not pass in many places because of the overcrowding. Things only got worse when ships became a lot larger, and London got more popular, many laws were passed.
Many decades later, people grew tired of the whole concept of overcrowding of ships, and so built own docks for private ships alongside the river in the Dockland. Also the industrial revolution was in conduction, so trade increased and therefore more space for ships were needed. As the space was running out, new ports were needed, so the Royal Docks were built further downstream to the first ports. Thousands of people worked in the docks by now. But this work was often dangerous and very badly paid. In the 1960’s, workers complained because of this and demanded more pay, so the docklands became more expensive to run.
So instead of the workers, containers, which were more efficient and cheap, were invented so workers were laid off. But still the rivers were not big enough to accommodate these ships who took the containers, so problems began again, and because of this, in the 1970’s Docklands were closed. These were the reasons of decline. There was a sharp loss of workers in the Docklands, there was not enough space for many ships, many ports had to move to other parts of London, and also The Docklands closed because of this. This led to decline as businesses set up elsewhere; most of docklands became derelict land. The land was not used for a purpose anymore.
Also the houses that were built there, were built quickly and the areas were set up very rapidly too, this meant that environmental quality and house quality was very bad and people did not want to live there any more. People started to go and live somewhere else in London and other areas.
These declines were mainly caused by problems in the area and with the structure of the whole area.
Problems included mainly the factors of money, land, space and work force.
One of the main problems was space. The Dockland’s were not designed to support huge ships, by their thousands at one time. They were also not deep enough to allow for the new bigger ships, which reached down a great amount. Container ships could not be sufficed, so other ports started to open, namely Tilbury and Antwerp, which could support the new bigger ships. As well as not having enough space now, the Dockland’s were in constant battle with other ports to get business and investors. Soon they could not handle it, with the growing expense of running the whole port, so they closed. The amount of space and the size of the ports were a big problem.
Another problem was the fact that there were so many job losses, because of these new containers and in the end; they could not fit inside anyway. Also workers who lived there were very limited with their skills and could not handle the new technology.
Because of the closing down of the docks now, the areas became run down. This was problem, as no-one would want to live there let alone set up a business there, 40% of land was derelict now. There was a lot of derelict land now with a lot of street thugs and crime and graffiti hanging about.
Another Problem was that the land was owned by a council who did not have the will to redevelop the land. The derelict land in some places was very run-down, and so it would be very expensive to clear and redevelop. If redevelopment did not happen, investors and entrepreneurs would not even consider entering the area.
There was also a problem with routes to other areas of London. The roads did not clearly link to London main areas. This meant that it would be expensive to trade and communicate with other parts of London. There were no airports for transport to other countries or other places in England. Neither were there proper fast and hard wearing trains or train stations. The main transport was by ships, and this was very slow, not to mention the docks were also packed.
At this point counter-urbanization was taking place; all of the urban qualities of the area were being stripped off the Docklands. This meant that all of the functions and homes that were there became rundown and worse than before.
This also meant that the docklands could in no way keep up with the latest technology, which is so valuable when you want to lure investors your way.
Housing in the area was also a problem. There were terraced housing in most places of the London Docklands. This meant there was not much lure for normal families to come there and also the workers would not have liked it. The houses were built fairly fast in the past, so they were not very hard wearing at all. These needed to be replaced.
Even when the Docklands were a good market place, their image was of a run-down town. What the whole area needed was a nicer image as an attractive place to come and work and live with your family. Entertainment and activity centers were needed to put this image on to appeal to the families of workers to come there to live and also work, and educate their young.
The LDDC was formed as a result of regenerating the London Docklands. LDDC stands for London Docklands Development Corporation. They invested 1.86 billion pounds into the whole project.
Transport was the main investment, where nearly half of the money went. The Docklands Light Railway was improved and extended to go into other parts of London. It was also made more reliable so that it could carry more passengers. Five new stations were also developed. 72 miles of new roads were also built in the Docklands leading into other parts of the London, and some roads were improved. Pedestrianisation also took place, where high specification pedestrian and cycle networks were placed, with special help to disabled people. The new train system also is extended to go to the London City airport, so there is access between countries.
The Government also invested 159 million pounds into utilities in the Docklands. These included drainage and electrical supply for houses and other buildings. There was not much of this before, so this is a sufficient. The Corporation also acquired 2042 acres and is turning some of it from Greenfield, into Brownfield. This means more houses and Businesses can be set up.
The Government also refurbished the Docks to better quality opening them up to the public – 3.7 miles (6 km) of waterfront accessible in 1981, 31 miles (50 km) in 1998 – with lots of bridges. Water sports facilities have been or are being provided in every dock. an ecology park was created at Bow Creek and a wildfowl sanctuary at East India Dock Basin. To ignite the need of a more attractive environment, 160,000 trees have been planted in various places. 483 acres of Enterprise zone were build near the isle of Dogs. This helped the business development. Canary Wharf now holds the title of C.B.D. This was mainly because the land here is cheap and easy to relocate many businesses to. When built properly, the whole place will hold space for 70,000 new workers.
The Thames barrier was also built in the Docklands to stop the flooding. This controls the height of the river with gates that can change size and open or close.
Housing in the area was also helped. Stock of Dwelling in 1981 was 15,000. In 1998, the area had a record fo 38,000. Of these some 17,700 were for owner occupation, 5,300 for housing associations and nearly 1,000 for local authorities. The proportion of home ownership has leapt from 5% to 45%.
7% of the budget was spent on community infrastructure and activities, which help the environmental quality, get better. Tower Hamlets college was built, Bacons college was built, 12 new primary schools were built, 17 schools were extended, IT equipment was given, 5.2 million was given to the Royal Docks community school, The Butler’s Wharf Chef School was built and 5 new health centers, 6 refurbished health centers, social care facilities and 3 children day care centers were built. Other activity centres included East Beckton District Centre, Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, and many more were built.
There has also been building of more private investments, which include hotels, restaurants, shops, factories, print works, offices and leisure facilities. Five hotels and a youth hostel have been built and four more hotels are under development. These are many for the tourism business, as many people would now come there to see the new regenerated Docklands, and the Corporation would make money off this.
In 1981 the population was 39,400, in 1998 83,000. In 2001, it was estimated there would be 98,500.
Also the Corporation is handing the Land on to the Local authorities. They have ceased operation now, but there are a few projects that will need finishing. They include, an international exhibition centre (ExCeL) on the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock, A Lottery Fund application is being made for a Sailing Centre at the western end of the Royal Victoria Dock and There will be some universities built in the Docklands, with a Campus.
These are what took place in the redevelopment of the London Docklands. It took many years, starting off in 1981 and finishing in 1999. Many projects have taken place. Now I am going to review them to see if the overall project was successful.
The Docklands started as a rundown piece of land, which became overcrowded with ships on its ports. As competition started with bigger ports, these ships went to those ports, taking the investors with them, and therefore leaving behind them, a big piece of derelict land. The whole place was not just a rundown area and so people started to move away to other parts of London, where there were better aspects of Health, Activities, Homes, Transport and Jobs. Jobs were the main aspect, many people moved because there were not many jobs in the area. Businesses moved, and not many people were left. Counter-Urbanization was taking place.
Then when the redevelopment started, Urbanization took place again. Gentrification also took place, and the whole lands were converted back from being a run-down town, to a good clean town which was rather attractive. It also became a multi functional place, where it attracted new industry such as newspapers, and banks. New housing was built to replace the old terraced housing. The new housing is now bigger, and a lot more attractive to new families thinking of working and living in the area. Even if they did not want to and wanted to be a commuter, the people could come through new improved transport. The new train goes to many new places now. There are also links to the airport through the train station now. And also there are plans of building the Docklands own Airport. New activity centers are also built to help the Racist environment heal and get children to come and do activities together and go to schools in IT based classrooms.
To make the whole area seem a little more attractive and better to the wildlife, parks were put in place, with many new trees planted.
Since 1981, the number of employers has more than doubled from 1021 to 2690. Employment has grown to 85,000 from 27,200 in 1981. So the employment rate has doubled because of this.
In 1981 there were 3,533 unemployed residents out of 19,788. In December 1997 there were 2,883 unemployed residents out of 40,077. The respective unemployment rates were 17.8% in 1981 and 7.2% in December 1997.
With the growth in employment has come a doubling in the population. In 1981 the population was 39,400, in 1998 83,000.
The LDDC received a total of 43 awards for architecture and conservation
From this evidence I can conclude that the whole project was very successful. The once rundown area of London Docklands was converted into a successful area which satisfied most family and tourist needs. The population increased, also with the employment rate, and the unemployment rate decreased considerably.
The overall society was renewed and the environmental quality got better along with the rates of Racism.
Even though this happened there were a few failures. The Shopping Mall built over the old tobacco plant turned out as an unsuccessful plan. This was mainly a result of misjudge.
The only problem with the area today is that the houses are for the richer people, with the housing becoming more expensive. But apart from this, the whole project was a huge success, a proper indication of what redevelopment can achieve.