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Surveying the ward of Brighton called Seven Dials

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Introduction

Geography GCSE Coursework Introduction For this piece of coursework, my class and I surveyed the ward of Brighton called Seven Dials. Brighton and Hove is a seaside town on the South Coast of England in the County of Sussex between Ordnance Survey grid squares 30-33 (East-West) and 04-06 (North-South). The railway station is in square 3105. Brighton is mainly a residential town of around 255,000 people with generally a very high housing density. One of the reasons that we decided to investigate Brighton is the fact that it is very accessible from London. This is due to the rail-link between Victoria Station and the central station in Brighton (which is adjacent to the Seven Dials area). In this project, I will be investigating the process of gentrification. Gentrification is the term used to describe how some inner-city areas, which are often run-down and have large derelict areas, are transformed into fashionable areas for middle/high-class groups. An important thing to remember is that gentrification is not planned, but happens due to changing fashions and market forces. Gentrification of an area usually occurs with at first a "pioneer group" of lower-income professionals (eg teachers and social workers) moving into an inner-city area to search for cheap Victorian/Edwardian properties to renovate. In Brighton's case, these people will mostly be from London, due to the fast rail-link and because of the relatively low house prices in Brighton compared to London. This pioneer group usually consists of people who are young, have no children and want to be near the city-centre so they are close to their work. The fact that they do not usually have children is important because it means they will not be very worried about the fact that most houses in the Seven Dials area are terraced so they do not usually have back gardens for children to play in. This can be seen on the A3 maps of the Seven Dials area. ...read more.

Middle

Hopefully the reasons would tie in with the theory of gentrification explained in the introduction. I included a question that asked people what their job title was to show what sort of people contributed to the process of gentrification. Before doing the survey, due to the factors explained in my introduction, I thought that lots of the people asked would be middle-income professionals like teachers for example. I also tried to collect some more data about when people moved to the area to gain a better idea of when gentrification occurred in Brighton as well as some more data about improvements people have made to their houses. Data Analysis I found a number of things from the data that was collected. Firstly I shall look at the data collected in the group questionnaires. One of my three main aims was to try and find out when gentrification occurred in Seven Dials. One of the questionnaire questions asked people how long they had lived in the Seven Dials area for in order to try and answer this question. I compiled all the data into a bar graph with five-year categories. This bar graph is shown below: As can be seen, almost half the people interviewed moved to Seven Dials within the last five years, and over two-thirds of the people in the last ten years. The number of people moving to Seven Dials is clearly on the increase, which shows that gentrification is an ongoing process and has not stopped. The big increase on the graph is between the 11-15 and the 6-10 categories, which suggests that gentrification only really started within the last ten years, because before that not many people moved to Seven Dials. Another of my aims was to find why Seven Dials was undergoing gentrification. In the group questionnaires there were questions asking people to rate on a scale of one to five, where five was very important, and one not at all important, how important certain factors were in their decision to move to Seven Dials. ...read more.

Conclusion

To stop this problem, I think that it would have been better to do the survey on the weekend. Another unexpected result came in my personal questionnaire survey, when lots of people said that a reason they moved to Brighton was because of schools. I thought that people would not be so worried about this because most people who gentrify an area do not have children, so it seemed strange. However, I think that it was a fluke result because the survey was too small (seventeen people.) However, I do not think that this could have been improved much because it took a very long time to collect such a small number and to collect more would have taken even longer. However, this could explain the strange result. The only way I can think of improving the accuracy of the survey would be to have more people doing questionnaires to increase the size. To show the building quality in the Seven Dials area, I drew an isoline map for the whole area, expecting the housing to be higher quality the closer it was to the station. However, this was not the case and houses of a higher quality seemed to be fairly evenly spread over the whole Seven Dials area. I think that this was due to a problem with the survey, because each of the five groups would have had a different idea of what constitutes "much deterioration of walls" (see techniques) for example, so one group may have given a street 47 points, and another group would have given the street 53 points. This was shown with Hamilton Street, which was accidentally covered by two groups and was awarded 56 by one group, and 51 by the other. This would not actually affect what category it was in, but it is a good example all the same. I cannot think of a way of stopping any discrepancies in the results without having one group do the whole area, which would have been impractical, as it would take too long. Peter Kennedy ...read more.

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