How and Why Do Places Vary


  • Changes to economies and societies occur due to local, national and global processes such as the movement of people, capital, information and resources. An abundance of these factors can make
  • places become economically wealthy whilst other places are marginalised.
  • Globally and regionally there are economic inequalities which are considered when regeneration programmes are produced.
  • Economic activity can be classified by sector; be it primary agricultural based or
  • secondary manufacture based, tertiary service based, and quaternary information based.
  • It can also be classified by type: part time/full time, temporary/permanent and employed/self-employed.
  • Places vary according to their economic activity which can be analysed using employment data and output data. For instance, London has an unemployment rate of 7.8% whilst Birmingham’s rate is 6.3%.
  • Furthermore, Birmingham is reported to have the biggest drop in unemployment figures in the UK having dropped from 7.5% between September and November 2014.
  • Differences in economic activity occur from variations in social factors, such as health, life expectancy and education levels, determining a person’s ability to work.
  • Inequalities in pay levels are reflected in quality of life indices. Families with a low income are ranked to have a lower quality of life than richer families.


Function and Characteristics of Places

  • As places develop, functions and demographic characteristics change. Overtime, employment may change between administration, commercial, retail or industry whilst age structures and ethnic compositions alter demographics.
  • Gentrification is the process of renovating a place to make it more attractive to the middle class and business world. An example of a place which has undergone gentrification is the London Docklands.
  • Physical factors, accessibility and connectedness, historical development and the role of local/national planning contribute to the changes of places.
  • These changes can be measured using employment trends, demographic changes, land use changes and levels of deprivation. Useful sources include area reports released by local councils.
  • This report on the London Borough of Hounslow on /demographic_profile_analysis_jsna.pdf presents the finding that deprivation has improved, the borough has become more diverse and population increase has grown greatly, leading to an increase in overcrowding which impacts social wellbeing.
  • Deprivation is a complex concept and can be measured using the multiple deprivation index, considering income and health deprivation, crime, quality of the living environment and abandoned/derelict land.


Past and Present Connections

  • Regional and national influences shape characteristics of places and this can be viewed visually by images, either contrasting two places or tracking before/after changes in one place.
  • International and global influences can also shape places, for instance demographics may change if there is free movement of migration etc. Demographics can be analysed statistically and presented using graphs.
  • Changes to an area can affect the lives of people and work to shape their identity, analysed through questionnaires/interviews.