London Docklands - Has the regeneration been a success or a failure?
London Docklands. Has the regeneration been a success or a failure?
The docklands cover 22 square km from London Bridge to Beckton. There are four main areas, which are, Wapping and Limehouse, Surrey Docks, Isle of Dogs and Royal Docks.
The area has gone under a load of projects on order to improve the area. These projects consist of the Docklands Light Railway, London City Airport, Transport and redevelopment of the old factories and housing.
In order to improve access to the area the Light Railway was opened in 1987 at a cost of £77 million. The train is unmanned and programmed by a computer to stop at the certain locations. It connects the Isle of Dogs to the main rail and the underground network and the city itself. Future plans are already being made to extend the route eastwards to the Royal Docks. The London City airport gave a further boost to the docklands that was previously a Short Take Off and Landing airport. This has been developed on the quay between the Royal Docks at Beckton. Brymon Airways and London City Airways offer scheduled flights to domestic and European destinations within a 600km radius of London.
Along with the Light Railway and the airport other transport schemes have been established, the network of red brick roads in the EZ, is linking the Isle of Dogs to the city. The docklands highway is one of the newest schemes and includes the Limehouse link, a cut and cover road. In 1988 a high-speed river bus service was introduced to serve commuter and tourist attraction. However this has brought about its disadvantages, as the capacities of the existing schemes are unlikely to meet the passenger demands created by new developments such as, Canary Wharf. Along with the problems of escalating costs, for instance the Limehouse Link has rose from £85 to £140 million even before the work had started. Due to the need of new roads many council houses are being demolished. There has been too much emphasis on road developments rather at the expense of public transport.
Housing has gone under some huge building schemes in which have been promoted by the LDDC, mainly at Beckton, Wapping, Surrey Docks and the Isle of Dogs. In 1988 nearly 9000 new houses had been built and work had started on over 15,000 more homes, and a further 8000 are planned. River frontages are popular locations for the new homes and seem to have been targeted by the purchasers new to the area. The development of the Royal Docks promises 1500 'social homes' in which 25% of the new jobs to be made available to local residents and provision of social facilities. The Tower Hamlets Council has made a deal with the LDDC that the council tenants after being homeless due to the Limehouse Link that they should be re-housed. Another deal was that 2000 Canary Wharf jobs and £2.5 million towards training for local people. There have been complications with the new housing. Over 80% are private sale, mostly being to expensive for the local people and in Newham a small 4% of new private sales are to the locals. The rising prices are of no help with some penthouse flats reaching £1 million. Over two-thirds of the land given to the LDDC in 1981 has been earmarked for local authority housing. There seems to be an inadequate concern for the needs of the locals rather than the new 'Yuppies'.
Since 1981 the population of the Docklands has been growing and is expected to rise throughout the 1990s, which had brought about the concern for new roads and transport schemes along with the new housing. However this could have been seen the other way round with the housing and new transport attracting the new population in which tends to be the upwardly mobile and professional population. This has been aided by the growth of the business sector like Canary Wharf. Friction has therefore been created between the old and new population and in which it is still growing.
Employment had been a problem for the locals since the major docks closed down, and with the slogans 'why move to the middle of nowhere when you can move to the middle of London' has attracted people from outside the city. Between 1981 and 1987, 8000 new jobs have been created to the Docklands, a rise of 34&. By 1991 a further 25,000 jobs were expected. The jobs were in three sectors, finance and business services; distribution, hotels and catering; printing and publishing. However even though they have provided 8000 new jobs, 5000 have been transferred form elsewhere, an example is the firms are bringing in their own employees. Only 3000 jobs are new and didn't exist before. Another problem is that the jobs do not match the work skills of the locals and only 13% of the incoming firms are locals. 13,000 jobs were lost from the traditional sectors since 1981 and in 1988 52,000 residents were unemployed.
The local councils have attracted approximately £440 million in grants since 1981. This has allowed the LDDC to offer an array of subsidies and incentives to developers, including cheap land and prepared sites. Problems have been caused due to the money going to the LDDC such as, local councils have had their resources cut back by rate capping and capital spending controls. The LDDC have faced criticism from local boroughs, community groups and organizations like the Docklands Community Council for its lack of democracy, local consultation and communication.
If the London Dockland rejuvenation was a success or failure is remains to be seen. The Docklands has been described as a test bed of government policy but the position of the Docklands being next to the city of London it is hard to see it being repeated. After this rejuvenation of the Docklands has left two environments that exist side bi side, one luxurious for wealthy incomers and the other unfounded estates, parks and community facilities where the locals live. If the two will ever merge it is something we will have to wait and see. I believe however that the rejuvenation has had it successes as before there was nothing going for the area at all.
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However the LDDC (London Docklands Development Corporation) was set up 1982 by the government to revitalize the economy of the docklands to do this they planned to modernise the existing buildings there by building offices and flats they started furthest upstream at the Tobacco dock and at St Katherine's dock they where both developed the tobacco docks where turned into shopping area and St Katherine's dock was developed as a tourist area, despite the regeneration of these docks they did not attract they many people to them especially when compared to other places in London. These two docks where small and easy to develop the hardest task for the LDDC was to develop the much larger Isle of dogs to aid them the government declared the area a enterprise zone this meant that companies that moved there where able to build there without paying taxes and bills the planning procedures time was also reduced allow the companies to save money and build faster. One of the biggest changes to the Isle of dogs was the opening of the Docklands light railway in 1987, this allowed people to easily and quickly gets around the isle of dogs this was aided by the construction of better road and rail links to the area. Although the Isle of dogs was developed well and extensively the royal docks where left derelict and unused. The Isle of Dogs where developed well enough to allow it to begin to thrive again this is mostly because of the city airport this is the most used area in the docklands it was designed to allow the business people to travel easily in the docklands. Business was not the only area focused on during the revitalisation of the Isle of Dogs they also built more Housing in the area however this kind of mass development caused controversy among the community living in the docklands prior to the redevelopment they claimed that the housing and facilities where too expensive for them to use an that the LDDC did not cater for them in there plans for the area
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.
The Residential Areas of that time
As it were the Dockers that lived there in the docklands themselves, they couldn't afford a lot, and lived in terraced houses, back to back, with low quality facilities. This was because there were huge amounts of Dockers needed and there was not a lot of space for to have their own house, they didn't have enough money. Houses were that's why built cramped together with no hygiene, poor sanitation and poor sewage.
As time had passed, these residential areas had changed a lot due to the decline of the docklands, in which many of the Dockers lost their jobs, making them live in even worse conditions. H
The Reasons of decline in the Docklands
The Dockers had no fix time limit to work. Their hours were long because ships were loading and unloading in both day and night. Wages were calculated by the hours, what was 5d an hour in the 1880s. More important was the number of hours' work a man could get or if he could get work at all. The situation was different for permanent employees who, according to The Times in August 1889, could receive from 20s a week. A docker's work was always hard, and few, if any, facilities such as toilets were provided. Working in cold and wet conditions also contributed to the high accident rate in the docks.
These conditions weren't good, and on top of that they got badly paid. The workers then demanded for better wages and conditions, else they wouldn't work. This of course made things more expensive and so, companies tried to find a cheaper and more efficient way of transporting goods. They came up with container Lorries. With them, fewer people were needed to carry the containers around because machines did the work which then resulted many thousands of people jobless. River Thames could no longer support the massive containers on the ships because it wasn't that deep. This made the other ships move to other ports that were close by, and not that crowded with bad roads and large city to cover a lot of the land.
Inner cities had a lot of slums in them as well. These slums gave the area a very poor and dull image to everyone else. Slums lacked basic facilities such as proper sewage treatment. This polluted the area, as well as made it unhygienic. There were a lot of narrow and congested roads there making it look uncivilized and poor. Uncivilized is a view it was also seen as because, if they (as in the residents of the area) were civilized, they would be able to afford a proper house, and that area wouldn't look that bad.
Why did the Government regenerate it?
Despite the fact that the Docklands is located in the inner cities, its population fell by 20% between 1971 and 1981, while the unemployment rate in 1981 was 17.8%. This tells us that only a few people lived there, and most of them were poor, and some were unemployed. There was a lot of empty land in 1981; around 60% of it was empty. This was worrying because even though it's close to the CBD, nobodies gets advantage of that land, and is left useless.
The state of the docklands had to be improved to catch visitors. Once this state would be better, land there would be expensive because it's very close to the CBD, where mostly all the services are located. There would also be a decrease in the crime rate because the change of state would make the docklands seem very posh and the crime rate in posh areas is low because there is alto of security for posh areas. The docklands would change from a dirty and poor area to a very posh area where the noble or rich people can only afford to live, but to make it that, the government would have to regenerate it.
To summarize, the location of the Docklands had drawn attention of the government for regeneration, while the state/condition, had led the government regenerate it for its consequences.
How is the Docklands now?
After the hard work done by the LDDC, the Docklands had changed completely, from poor to posh area, where only the rich people could afford to live. If you were unemployed, living there would be next to impossible. Here is a little description of each service now in the docklands.
Transport Access: There is big deal about transport in the new Docklands now because the LDDC has done the following tasks to improve the docklands transport system.
· The train will now carry more than 80,000 passengers daily.
· The roads have been improved.
· There now is high specification pedestrian and cycle networks that has given priority to ensure that Docklands is fully accessible to all, including disabled people.
· The London City Airport has now advanced to carry 1.2 million passengers in 1997 and has championed the Jubilee Line Extension of the Underground which opened in spring 1999, carries 22,000 people an hour in each direction and connects London Docklands directly with London Bridge and Waterloo BR stations and the West End.
Utilities: The Docklands now have utilities such as drainage and electricity supply - in which they were previously lacking of. It has a more efficient energy supply, and electricity supply that has heat and energy, both through local networks.
Environment: It now has elegant footbridges to ease the barrier effect. Water sports facilities have been provided in every dock. Well funded arrangements have been made to secure these services.
The wildlife and their habitats are being protected there as well. There is an ecology park at Bow Creek and a wildfowl sanctuary at East India Dock Basin.
There is an attractive environment there, with high quality of urban design, street furniture, public art, open spaces. There are 160,000 trees planted. The docklands has received 94 awards for excellence in landscaping, planning, architecture and conservation.
Commercial Development: There is a commercial/office market in Docklands. It attracted a lot of investment and international businesses. The docklands had led to the start of a new business district for London, including the Canary Wharf development as its centre-piece.
Housing: In 1981 housing in the UDA was of poor quality and in short supply.
- Poor or uninhabitable condition.
- Housing was rented, mostly through the local authorities. Owner occupation was 5%
The proportion of home ownership has leapt from 5% to 45% - still below the Londonaverage.
Community Infrastructure: A lot of the money from the Docklands was invested on education and training and on health and other community activities, which include:
- Tower Hamlets College
- Bacon's College
- 12 new primary schools
- Extension and improvements to 17 other schools
- Provision of IT equipment for the schools in London Docklands
- The Butler's Wharf Chef School
- 5 new health centers and 6 refurbished existing health centers, plus social care facilities, including three children's day care centers