Rebranding in the london docklands: case study Essay
Rebranding in the london docklands: case study
Jumping straight to the point, rebranding has 1occurred and is currently taking place in various ‘hot spot’ locations to try to give the area a new modern feel. The chairman of the London Docklands Development Corporation, Sir Michael Pickard, said himself that, ’16 years ago, the Isle of Dogs was an isolated, tightly knit community seemingly in the grip of irreversible decline. Today, massive investment from both the public and private sectors has transformed the area. There are new schools, health centers and homes, park and playgrounds, new road and rail links, and nearly 1.
4 million square meters of commercial and industrial development, over 80% of which rented. The new residents and businesses have brought a fresh lifeblood to the Island. ‘ So it is obvious that rebranding has taken place, but to what extent and where has it happened. The first information study I am going to look at is a place check form, here it will become more apparent which areas have undergone rebranding to a higher extent than others. So looking at fig. 1. 1, is an area called Felstead Wharf is reported to have high quality modern housing, with adjacent car parks provided.
From the information in the photo and also the report, one can deduce that this area, once holding low quality housing for the working class population of the Docklands, has now been transformed into an upmarket residential area offering a home to business men and women who work in the central business district. But, when only moving a small distance, approximately, 2000 feet, one meets an area were regeneration is ‘currently in progress’ looking closely at figure 1. 2, we see at approximately 429 Westferry Road, a large super structure which at one point was a warehouse in the industrial era and now is simply a steel skeletal structure.
However this large building is soon to be transformed by the council to make a series of aesthetically pleasing offices. In complete contrast, and in the final study of the place check form, draw attention to figure 1. 3. Here although closer to the the Central Business District, this area on Glengall Grove is reported to have poor housing quality with cement walls being badly stained and covered in graffiti, the houses themselves were small, of bad quality and usually terraced. With the nearby park in a state of disrepair. The significance of the above study shows in figure 1.
1, 1. 2 and 1. 3, that in 3 locations separated only by around 3 to 4 thousand feet, the quality, quantity and utility of the building changes dramatically. Clearly in figure 1. 1 the council have decided to inject money to reinvent the housing in the area and at the same time, entice high class business men into the area and with it higher quality tertiary and quaternary industry. Now, looking at the environmental study table, on the left in figure 2. 1, it is obvious that the higher the score on the table the more likely the area is to have undergone regeneration.
Take for example area H. It is obvious that this area is not ideal of appealing environmentally, this is conveyed through the overall score of the area being quite low, at 59 out of 100. This leads me to believe that the area has not undergone regeneration. Which according to the place check map, is in fact true. This formulae correlates not only for this specific location but the Isle of Dogs generally. This enables us to pinpoint areas which have not undergone regeneration and of-course those which have, giving us a greater understanding of the question; where has rebranding occurred.
So by combining the two sources of information together, it is possible to create a more detailed map of the areas which have undergone regeneration. In figure 2. 3 the green scatterings are symbolic of an expensive area which is residential or business based but which has undergone rebranding. The blue areas area show partially rebranded areas or non-rebranded areas which are still aesthetically pleasing and wealthy areas. The red areas are representative of completely non regenerated areas, which generally contain low quality housing inhabited by lower class workers.
So to conclude this sub-heading, on the whole, a large area of the Isle of Dogs has undergone rebranding through regeneration,it has mainly occurred in regions close to the river. These areas are generally speaking, residential high quality flats and houses aimed at the business man who perhaps works in the Central business district as this is a prime location; close to work and in a pleasing environment. The regenerated areas further inland are more often business related, with aesthetically pleasing offices and high quality shops infiltrating the area.
Some however is regenerated housing, offering high quality housing at a slightly lower price for middle to upper middle class workers. There are still some areas which remain untouched by the rebranding scheme put together by the LDDC (London Docklands Development Corporation) in 1997. These areas have assumed the position of low quality housing with high crime rates according to the local council. These areas suffer as businesses often relocate from this area because expendable income held by most residents in this area is low. Success of rebranding.
The relative success of the rebranding process can easily be determined simply by looking at interviews and presentations and comparing peoples opinions of the area with the overall percentage of the area which has been regenerated. To illustrate this more clearly, see figure 3. 1. This graph represents 6 different areas within the Isle of Dogs, in each, an area with different levels of regeneration. In this area, local residents were subjected to questioning about their opinions on the area. The results show that on a general level, that when the amount of rebranding/regeneration increases, so too does residents happiness.
However notice area 1 and 2 in figure 3. 1, the opinionated happiness is higher in area 1 which is subject to no rebranding than in area 2 which has roughly 20 percent of the area rebranded. The reason for the sudden decrease in area 2 is explainable. People are generally happier in area 1 because the culture of the area is not being ruined by modern housing for business workers. Many lower class or retired people live in Area 1 and are happy to maintain a high level of culture and a sense of community. So in Area 2 the level of rebranding has increase somewhat.
With it, comes new residents, and with new residents come loss of culture and the community spirit is often broken. So when interviewing a man who had lived in the area for 30 years, he was unhappy about this sudden change and would have been happier had the area remained untouched. Overall, the relative success of rebranding on the wellbeing of citizens is high. Once an area has completely undergone regeneration, the consensus is unanimous in high opinionated happiness. Understanding the fact that rebranding has been a success for the majority or residents, what about for the council and the economy?
Looking at the average house price in area 1 for a 3 bedroom house/flat, the price is roughly 250,000 pounds. Considering it is in a prime location the price is relatively low because aesthetically, the house is not very pleasing, crime rates are high and average income is low. If then one sees the house price in area 6 for a 3 bedroom apartment, the cost can go up to and exceed 2. 5 million pounds on todays market. The success of a rebranded area is obvious by simply looking at these figures.
By creating such high quality housing, it influences upper middle, to upper class workers, most usually those who work in the Central Business District into the area. These people are useful to the local council as they pay a high amount of tax and entice high class high profile businesses into the area. This is because the businesses understand they have a high amount of expendable income. The success of these areas spiral upwards because the more high quality housing that is constructed, the more businesses locate to the area and in conclusion, the more money is injected into the local council and therefore back into the community.
Areas still in need of rebranding As shown in figure 2. 3, the green highlights on the map are representative of the highly rebranded areas 80% or more. The blue areas represent areas that have undergone between 40 to 80%. The red areas are significant of 0 to 40% regeneration. Although there are a few areas which are yet to undergo redevelopment, on the whole the Isle of Dogs has seen a greater percentage or rebranding per square foot than most other residential areas in London.
Because of this, it is important that the whole region of the Isle of Dogs is not lost under a sea of white walls and tinted glass. Some of the area should remain as working class housing with dirty red bricks with a musky feel to it. If all of it is lost, then it is possible that the area would lose its routes and its heritage and the great docklands would be remembered as something completely different than what it should. But the definition of rebranding is exactly that, so in terms of rebranding, there is roughly 35 percent of the Isle of Dogs, yet to be rebranded.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 2 September 2017
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