Dispensing with the doughnut?

December 20, 2006

Focusing on centres contained within the ‘doughnut’, defined by the area between the north-south circular and M25, has worked well so far in getting us thinking about the right kind of areas and looking at relevant town centres. It would be preferable though if we could define our catchment area some other way, not least because upholding a more or less aspatial zoning approach to urban planning is something we wish to avoid. Could we compile a dataset that would let us capture (approximately) all the town centres within a given journey time from central London boroughs using different forms of transport? This would make more sensitive to a multi-scaled approach by identifying cooridorrs and barriers to access at the regional scale. It wold also give a better impression of polycentric structures if eqivalent data for travel between different centres could be added. By treating this as a background layer for analytical purposes we can still concentrate our research ‘bottom-up’ from the town-centres themselves but within a regional context that is not artificially restricted to the doughnut.

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4 Responses to “Dispensing with the doughnut?”

  1. mukih Says:

    Creating a database of travel time from different areas in Central London is actually quite difficult. At the ward level, we can compile the travel to work. We can also get some basic analysis from the work that was already carried out by My Society (http://www.mysociety.org/2006/travel-time-maps/) or Ito!(http://itoworld.com/). However, this can be proved to be quite a diversion – worth careful consideration of the ‘from’ locations (City? Canary Wharf?) and the modes of transport (Buses? Train? Tube?) as each got different demography, service levels etc.
    So I suspect that we can try to get the data in the next phase, but be careful about how much we rely on it for the selection.

  2. ozlemsahbaz Says:

    Distance (whether you look at bird flight or across a network) is a vague attribute of suburbs, but I agree that we should work a bit on the definition of this in the coming stages.
    There’s also the catchment analysis mentioned in London Area Travel Survey Report (www.dft.gov.uk), but we don’t know the details of how this was compiled yet.

  3. liora4 Says:

    Two points: one, we could start with a metric distance using the axial map – a rough estimate of actual roadway travelled. Two, I suggest we take a distance from ‘everywhere’, not just inner London suburbs. We need to discuss what would be a sensible distance, following from the earlier blog on walkability, perhaps a walkable map as well as a map on travel time by car (let’s discuss what would be a reasonable travel time). Public transport would unfortunately have to be accounted for at a different stage.

  4. ozlemsahbaz Says:

    I disagree with this estimation of what we can use at a particular stage. In my opinion *if* public transport network or data will be any use to us, that will most likely be in the stage where we are answering the question “where does the suburban boundary start?”. I don’t see it *as* useful in the later stages after we focus on our case study centers.
    “metric distance using the axial map – a rough estimate of actual roadway travelled” would be one type of distance across a network (in this case the axial line network)that I meant in the previous post. Of course this network will be our key distance/topological relationship analysis grounds for most of the time.

    But if we are talking about how we label centers according to a suburb distance/accessibility factor threshold, I think it would be useful look at both (axial + public transport). I wonder if there are clearer pointers in the literature that researchers have discussed on ?

    In any case, I don’t think we should put public transport aside at this stage, these strong and robust connections underline the travel to work options and possibly include a cost that people calculate when choosing a place to live, work and entertain themselves.


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