Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Last minute Poole revision - What is the issue?

I had quite a few people approach me today to ask me if I could write up a post on a few last minute things. First up was fieldwork but Millie has very kindly covered this and is currently running one of her invaluable live online workshop for any last minute questions so instead I am going to focus on the other areas people requested - some facts and statistics you could include to enhance your answers tomorrow and a brief summary of the synoptic links that can be made.....This will greatly be in note form, so apologises for the poor use of language and just general disorganisation!

It has taken me a while to realise (and accept!) that this is an Issues Evaluation exam not a research exam so we need to demonstrate tomorrow how well we can all 'think like Geographers', not how much information we have absorbed about Poole! I suspect that most of you will be reciting this in your sleep by now but the issue in this topic is:

People are concerned about the environmental damage that may occur because of the regeneration of the area around Holes Bay which has arisen because of changes in industry and population growth but might be resolved by following the advice of the appropriate assessment.

Holes Bay is an area of international importance due to its ornithological interest, which has resulted in international protection for the area via Ramsar status, SSSI's and SPA's, and the worry is that regeneration could detrimentally affect this delicate area. By abiding by the appropriate assessment the environmental impacts should be minimised.  However, regeneration is needed in Poole as population has rapidly expanded and the structure changed, meaning different needs have to be accommodated for. Also, due to geographical barriers, urban sprawl cannot occur so regeneration of brownfield sites is the only viable option. Changes in population have been accompanied by changes in industry and consequential shifts in employment, resulting in more people commuting into Poole or travelling from Poole to find employment, both of which have increased congestion.

Just a few noteworthy facts:
- Poole's population has expanded from c.19,000 in 1900 to c.141,000 today
- The population is expected to increase by a further 8.7% (to c.151,481) by 2016
- 20.3% of the population is 65+ which is higher than the UK average (think ageing population)
- 24.8% of population are between the ages of 45-64 which is above UK average (link to umemployment issues)
- 78.7% of Poole's workforce are employed in services
- Sandbanks is the 4th most expensive place to live in the world
- In 2006, Poole was ranked the most unaffordable town to live in in the UK
- Poole made £158 million from tourism in 2002 alone
- Existing bridge built in 1927 to replace the Iron Swing bridge built in 1885. This bridge replaced the Wooden Toll bridge (built in 1834) which had too steep a gradient for horses
- Twin Sails Bridge has cost £37 million plus and additional £2 million for the road network
- Economic impact of £400 million
- Twin Sails Bridge consists 10.8m wide carriageway providing two taffic lanes, 1.5m wide cycleways along both edges of carriageway, two 2.5m pedestrian footpaths = total width of 19m
- Leaves pivoted through an 88 degree angle by two hydraulic rams

Population Synoptic Link: This is the most obvious one! The AS population module links very well with regards to how our transition through the Demographic Transition Model has influenced urban structure and form and caused it to change accordingly. Migration also is related as whilst the population has grown steadily since the 1960s, inward migration to counteract suburbanisation is responsible for most of the growth , with this occuring as a consequence of retirement. This provides a great link to ageing populations! The UK has an ageing population and many elderly people choose to retire along the coast and in the countryside, for obvious reasons, and whilst some have the disposable incomes required to live in Sandbanks, most don't and so affordable housing is needed. This could be taken one step further by mentioning social changes that have occured, like an increase in divorce and amount of people living alone etc which means that more houses are needed.
Development and Globalisation Synoptic Link: Taken mention of the movement through the DTM one step further, mention could be made to the Rostow Model of Development as demographic constraints are being placed on future economic and social development in Poole so for them to continue to develop they need to dilute the demographic constraints by providing much need housing and services. Unemployment is an issue in Poole and the Twin Sails Bridge is designed to catalyse further regeneration by opening up 26 hectares of brownfield, with the hope that businesses will invest. If and when they do, it will kickstart the model of cumulative causation, provide much needed employment and most likely lead to further regeneration. With good road and rail links to London and good sea access to Europe from a naturally protected harbour, and with reduced congestion (hopefully!) and an available workforce it is likely to seem like an attractive place for TNCs who want to settle inside the EU to avoid trading tariffs.
Energy Synoptic Link: Sustainabilty, with regards to converting it from a concept to reality - due to the environmental considerations the regeneration needs to be sustainable. Measures to ensure this is so have included the planned use of solar panels on roofs to heat water to help regeneration scheme meet the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. The new bridge provides better facilities for cyclists with the hope that car usage will be reduced, whilst car sharing schemes have been encouraged in the area. On the other hand you could argue that regeneration has increased use of fossil fuels, thereby increasing pollution and consequential environmental impacts.
Climate Synoptic Link: First one would be climate change; currently the construction work is increasing amount of anthropogenic forcing in the short term. However green wedges improve air flow and quality. Increasing urban development will add to the urban heat island effect which increases urban temperatures. Questions over whether area is suitable for regeneration as vulnerale to sea level rise (risk increased by isostatic readjustment), more storms in an area already suspectible area that experiences full force of prevailing winds, more flooding etc.
Rivers Synoptic Link: Poole is low lying and vulnerable to flooding, with many of the areas lying in flood zones. Some areas are already protected but regeneration is likely to be accompanied by further protection. Developing areas like Hamworthy Gate will increase the amount of impermeable surfaces, altering hydrology, most notably increasing runoff and consequently the flood risk. Wetlands are also very vulnerable to excess runoff.
Coasts Synoptic Link: This kind of overlaps with rivers and climate but the location of Poole and its geology leaves it vulnerable to erosion. You also have the spit there which provides natural protection for this natural harbour but needs management to maintain stability. This is likely to happen due to economic value of the area. Isostatic readjustment and eustatic sea level rise pose a huge threat to this low lying coast line so questions are raised over whether or not we should redevelop it. Touristic value of this area which could be classed as a honeypot site.

You also have all the links to current affairs such as economic climate, olympic games etc...

So there are plenty more synpotic links  and this covers all of the modules we have/do study.... apart from volcanoes. A few of you did remark that I would never be able to link this to volcanoes so here is my attempt (just for a bit of fun!)....

If Katla was to erupt and close European airspace for three years then Europe would have a greater reliance on using ports to sustain trade. Therefore Poole would see an increase in use of the port as it provides a good link to Europe and London. Also if people cannot travel abroad to go on holiday then honeypot sites such as Poole would likely seen an influx of tourists, with people having to opt to holdiays within the UK. The Twin Sails Bridge would help Poole cope with increased traffic flows and the regeneration would provide the required facilities to support this move, such as hotels and restrauants etc.

Good luck to everyone in the exam tomorrow!!! Just remember, we have to THINK LIKE GEOGRAPHERS!

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