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The impacts of various urban dynamics on the growth, development, future trends and ecological sustainability of London

Updated on November 7, 2016
London's Big Ben
London's Big Ben | Source

The urban dynamics happening in London have impacted on its growth, development, future trends and ecological sustainability. It is because of the urban dynamics, like decentralisation, ex-urbanisation, urban decay and urban renewal that London is continuing to grow and develop as one of the penultimate world cities on the planet. These dynamics affect the economic and cultural authority that London conveys to the world and hence has impacted on the growth, development, future trends and ecological sustainability.


Map of London

The urban dynamics happening within London have had a big impact on the growth of the city. The population of London has gone through periods of decline and stagnation. There was a large decline in the population of inner London, the population going from 8.3 million in 1939; to 6.7 million in the early 1980s. This can be seen to be because of factors like counter-urbanisation and suburbanisation. The Green Belt was established in 1955 to limit the urban sprawl which was starting to take place on the outskirts. People didn't need to live next to work anymore. Due to factors like technological advances, improved transport, a lot of people moved out of the city centre to the surrounding burrows, rather commuting to the city for work (ex-urbanisation). There is about a million people that commute into Inner London each day and about 380,000 that go into Outer London. The population of London now however has grown to about 8.67 million people. This is mainly because there has been an influx in the amount of immigrants particularly the younger generation of skilled workers. This has led to dynamics like consolidation (happening in East-South East), urban renewal and urban decay. The growth of immigrants of London's history has contributed to its income inequality crisis. The decline in growth of the manufacturing sector has seen an increase of unemployment of those unskilled immigrants that came to London to improve their way of life. This in turn has lead to urban decay, particularly in the areas of East End and the Docklands. There has also been a decrease in the amount of people buying houses. People particularly the lower class immigrants, can't afford to buy a house so they end up renting. This whole polarisation of the rich and poor, those that can buy, those that rent is growing and it can be seen to be because of the impacts of the urban dynamics happening in London.

London's population growth over time
London's population growth over time | Source

Urban dynamics has also impacted on the development of London. The main urban dynamics in play here are urban decay and urban renewal. Urban decay has been a big problem for some parts of the city. There are many areas that have become degraded because of the amount of money in the area is minimal. As one race or society moves out of an area, another replaces it, usually one that is less wealthy and so urban decay begins. Urban decay can be seen in areas like Old Ford, Brick Lane and the Docklands. The Docklands use to be a place of wealth and prosperity when the British Empire was at the height of its reign but as the trade died down, manufacturing outsourced to areas with land cheaper, subsequently the area darkened and spiralled into decay. However in the 1980s this place was victim of urban renewal, twenty square kilometres being redeveloped. There were abandoned warehouses that were demolished, trees were planted. Train stations were built to connect the area up. The City of London Airport was built along with other estates. There was an influx of people coming into this redeveloped area. These people were from the younger generation and were highly skilled which also lead to an increase in the technology and finance industries in the area. Another example of where urban decay has turned around into urban renewal is in the East End, around Old Ford. The area here was chosen for the 2012 Olympics and so this development will take the area out of urban decay. The Olympics brought a lot of money to the area. It will clean up the area; provide business and a source of jobs for the unemployed. It is another example how urban renewal and hence the urban dynamics is impacting on the development of London.

London Olympics 2012 Urban Renewal

Ecological sustainability is a big issue in this modern day and the urban dynamics play a huge role in impacting on this. In London the three main areas to ecological sustainability is to do with the air, the water and the waste. Air pollution has always been a problem for London, whether it be in 1200s, 1600s or today, it is something that has had to be maintained. Back in time it was the smoke from the fires and industries that were the main problem but now it is the congestion of London's roads and coal burning house fires that are the main polluters. 70% of all journeys these days in London are made by car. The London Government has now put in strict policies to limit this air pollution. There is now a congestion tax for the Inner City and there are emission free zones set up around London to limit the pollution. The other area of ecological sustainability is to do with the water pollution, which use to and is to an extent now a big problem. In the 1980s people use to get all their water from the Thames and people would dump all their wastes in the river as well. It is still happening today but to a lesser extent. There is still, seven million tonnes of sewage sludge pumped out of the Thames each day. The sludge should be used to make fertilisers but London hasn't got to that stage yet. The pollution has actually gotten better and should continue to get better in the future, allowing aquatic species like salmon to come back into the ecosystem. Waste is and has been a large problem in London. Due to the large population, the waste is enormous averaging 6,700 tonnes per household a year. The problem however is that less then 5% of this is recycled, the rest being dumped on vacant land. The urban dynamics as a whole has impacted on how the city represents its own ecological sustainability.

Boundary of London's Congestion Charge to mitigate traffic and subsequent pollution.
Boundary of London's Congestion Charge to mitigate traffic and subsequent pollution. | Source

The urban dynamics will also impact on the future trends of the city. As the manufacturing sector declines there is and will continue to be significant growth in the services sector. This will see a move towards continued ex-urbanisation but also suburbanisation. As transport facilities become better more people will move out to the outskirts and as technology becomes better more people will work from home; this resulting in less people needing to live within the city. Another trend that has been and will continue in London is the dynamic of decentralisation. The existence of the extensive motorway structure means companies can relocate to areas not as expensive as the Inner City but to areas close to the motorways like those that moved to Birmingham. These are some of the future trends of London that have been impacted by the urban dynamics; the others tend to be with the other points mentioned above.

London's extensive motorways
London's extensive motorways | Source

Ultimately, the urban dynamics have impacted significantly on the growth, development, ecological sustainability and future trends of London. They have shaped the way London is and will continue to shape London in the future.

© 2016 Billy Zhang

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