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Densification, Development and/or Displacement: accommodating migrant-induced population growth in London (and its extended region). Ian Gordon Geography Department, LSE London and Spatial Economics Research Centres London School of Economics

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Densification, Development and/or Displacement: accommodating migrant-induced population growth in London (and its extended region)

Ian Gordon

Geography Department,

LSE London and Spatial Economics Research Centres

London School of Economics

LSE London/HEIF5 conference on How London is being transformed by migration , March 24th 2014

  • London Mayoral Plans all avoid recognition of
    • driving role of international migration in London’s population turnaround; and
    • high degree of integration of housing / labour markets across London metro region and beyond
  • But size of gap between estimated housing need and (half) credible supply growth makes crucial to:
    • look much more closely at how immigrant-induced growth has been accommodated so far;
    • with realistic view of the displacement effects along extended chains of interaction in space-constrained region ;
    • and of the dynamic effects of migrant settlement - as economic position and housing aspirations change
the back story
The Back Story
  • For 50 years GL population contracted because
    • rising prosperity increased demands for personal space
    • beyond the capacity of available land inside the ‘green dam’
  • Situation changed in late 1980s and then late 1990s:
    • partly cumulative effect of enlarged YUPpy cohorts of singles / graduates with strong taste for city life
    • but clearly tied to upswings in international migration, reflecting strong external stimuli + weak border control
  • Migrant impact on London population is not 1 for 1
    • clear indications of displacement in inter-regional movement
      • graphs and Hatton/Tani (2005) work suggest more like 50%
    • but important questions about;
      • how 50% gets fitted in – generating development, or just crowding ?
      • Is this a temporary accommodation – or sustainable ?
evidence from inter censal change
Evidence from Inter-Censal Change
  • Investigated 2001-11 changes in:
    • numbers of (occupied) rooms + average persons per room
    • 5 population groups:
      • UK born
      • Migrants since 2001 – from Poor countries & Rich countries
      • Earlier migrants – from Poor/Rich countries
  • Across the Greater South East - at 2 spatial scales:
    • neighbourhoods (LSOA), where relations with densification (or reverse?) expected to be compositional (shifting mixes)
    • Local (sub-) Housing Market Areas (Coombes’ 73 ‘lower’ units) where demand pressure may exert more general effects
      • on occupation density and on supply of dwelling space (rooms)
  • Maps suggest some possibly important links
in broad terms over the decade
In Broad Terms – Over the Decade
  • Population grew right across GSE
    • but fastest towards the core (IL)
  • Reflecting growth in foreign-born
    • Primarily from poor countries – particularly in OL where UK born numbers fell significantly
    • But also from rich countries – principally in IL
    • There was a dispersal of earlier arrivals from both groups – though PoorC group going further (including beyond GSE)
  • Room numbers also grew across the GSE
    • Especially in IL – though patchy even there
    • And not particularly in immigrant areas
  • But in London population per room also grew
    • accommodating c40% of growth
    • Notably in/near areas of new poor country arrival
statistical evidence on densification
Statistical Evidence on ... Densification
  • Analyses of 2001-11 change across LSOAs point to:
    • significant effect of job accessibility on densification
      • with zero pop growth, prediction is of + 5.8% in IL vs. 2.9% in outer RGSE
    • but strongest effect from (local) rate of PoorC arrivals
      • 55% absorbed by denser occupancy - cf. 10% for UK born
    • much weaker effect from change among earlier arrivals (30%)
      • indicative of substantial convergence in housing expectations
    • generally weaker among RichC arrivals – but strikingly so in IL
      • the main concentration, but quite atypical – maybe no net effect on densities
      • though among longer stayers impact seems close to that for PoorC group
    • additional to these local (compositional effects) there is evidence (from LHMA pop. change) of a demand pressure effect
      • about 24% for growth from all sources
      • except for RichC arrivals in IL (zero impact at LHMA scale)
      • but for PoorC arrivals densification absorbed c.80% of additional numbers
      • Adding 12.9% to IL room occ. density vs 3.4% in outer RGSE
development effects
... Development Effects
  • Similar analyses of change in room numbers – with controls for land availability, as well as job access:
    • suggest no significant effect from new migrants at LHMA level – where we might expect to find it
    • at neighbourhood level there is apparent evidence of positive (local) effects on the supply of rooms (equivalent to 20% of RichC arrivals and 7% for PoorC arrivals)
      • but this could only represent a local diversion of development activity
      • not a net contribution to accommodation of growth at the sub-regional scale
... Displacement
  • Time Series analyses for GL and for the rest of the GSE (1981-2011) show:
    • Strong effects of state of (UK) housing demand (for GL partic?) and some of overall GSE conditions (U/E and house prices) – but also
  • International migrational gains into London appear to be 40% displaced into other areas (after 2 years)
    • though primarily beyond the GSE: i.e. the chain of displacements stretches right through the GSE, ending up outside
      • Tho maybe still within Peter Hall’s original larger version of this super-region.
  • No such evidence of displacement by RGSE immigration
    • consistent with assumption that it reflects the incidence of housing market constraints, rather than labour market processes (or ‘white flight’?)
  • Tho’ findings for densification / development suggest rich country migration must generate more displacement – there is no indication of this at the regional (GL) scale (or of the reverse)
  • Accommodating migrants involves some combination of : (a) induced additions to local room stock; (b) denser occupation of those rooms; and (c) displacement elsewhere
  • Impacts in a metro region such as London’s are greatly complicated, however, because:
    • displacement occurs at many scales – with knock-on effects across them;
    • different groups of migrants occupy substantially different HM positions; and
    • these change markedly over time.
  • There is much still to be sorted out about processes/impacts operating in London over the past 25 years - and the next
  • But it is clear that:
    • the dense (self-)housing of PoorCountry migrants has been key to location of population growth within London;
    • they will be demanding much more space (somewhere) soon – though despite UKBA et al others may well come to take their place; and that
    • the process has ramifications right across southern England which need more careful (and open) examination .