In the Shadow of a Giant. Core-peripheral contrasts in South East England.
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In the Shadow of a Giant. Core-peripheral contrasts in South East England. Dan O’Donoghue Director of Urban and Regional Studies Canterbury Christ Church University. SPATIAL CONTEXT The south east of England is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.

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Spatial context

In the Shadow of a Giant. Core-peripheral contrasts in South East England. Dan O’DonoghueDirector of Urban and Regional StudiesCanterbury Christ Church University

Spatial context


The south east of England is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.

It is the engine of the British Economy and accounts for approximately 40% of the national workforce.

The global city of London is the focal point of this polycentric world city region.

Within this global city region there are marked contrasts between core and peripheral sub-regions.

Spatial context

This paper will use data from the 2007 UK Annual Business Inquiry . (UK employment census)

46 Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs) in the region.

Location Quotients and percentages are used to identify spatial concentrations of selected employment types

Spatial contrasts and patterns will highlight some key issues

Specific emphasis will be placed on Kent

To provide context for field excursions later in the Conference

Spatial context

Sectors to be examined Inquiry . (UK employment census)

FIRE – Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

Link between Finance and Global Cities well established in the literature

APS – Advanced Producer Services

Link between APS and city size well established in the literature

Peripheral growth of back office APS functions well established

HRB – Hotels, Restaurants and Bars

Often associated with tourism / cultural function

Higher Education

Role of Specialised Centres identified in the literature

Public Sector

Role of the State in regional development debated in the literature

Spatial context

  • 46 TTWAs Inquiry . (UK employment census)

  • 3 NUTS regions

  • London

  • South East England

  • East Anglia

  • Some TTWAs multi-centred

  • Clear Polycentric Pattern

  • Size falls away with distance

  • from London

  • Distance Decay not uniform

  • in all directions

Spatial context

FIRE LQs Inquiry . (UK employment census)

Norwich Highest LQ

Largely down to HQ of one firm

Dominant regional centre

London, Crawley, Brighton, Worthing, Andover LQ > 1

City of London, Canary Wharf

Amex, Gatwick Airport

Very Low in large parts of East Anglia, and East Kent

Rural, isolated, poor transport infrastructure – Ashford?

Spatial context

APS LQs Inquiry . (UK employment census)

Highest LQ

Guildford & Aldershot, Reading & Bracknell

West London Wedge LQ > 1

London, Cambridge, Luton&Watford, Wycombe&Slough, Milton Keynes&Aylesbury, Oxford, Newbury, Basingstoke

East – West Divide

Very Low in large parts of East

Anglia, and Kent

Spatial context

HRB LQs Inquiry . (UK employment census)

Isle of Wight, Cromer&Sheringham >1.5

Two most distant from London, beyond the shadow?

London, along South East Coast, Norfolk Broads and Coast LQ > 1

Tourism, or something else?

Very Low in large parts of city region

In the Shadow? Distinct ring around London.

Spatial context

Hi ED LQs Inquiry . (UK employment census)

Canterbury, Cambridge and Oxford LQs >4

Then Second tier of University towns/cities

London, Lots of Higher Ed, but drowned out by background noise / city size.

Very Low in large parts of immediate city region

In the Shadow? Distinct ring around London. You are either in or out of London.

Spatial context

London Region Average 28% Inquiry . (UK employment census)

Low - Newbury 16.5%

High – Canterbury 39.7%

University Towns/Cities and South and east Coasts mainly above average employment in Public Sector

London and Western Crescent High Private Sector

This region corresponds to APS map

Very Low in large parts of immediate city region

In the Shadow? The shadow is not uniform.

Spatial context

  • Western Crescent or Arc Inquiry . (UK employment census)

  • Re-idendified,

  • some mention in literature

  • Size of Locations, density increases along major motorways, and other communication axes, toward other larger centres in the National Urban System.

    • Infrastructure matters

    • Size Matters

  • Away from Peninuslar South East, i.e. Kent, East Anglia

    • Geography Matters

    • An Island Matters

    • Tradition Matters

    • Europe doesn’t matter?

Spatial context

Clear Gradient from London to East Kent Inquiry . (UK employment census)

East Kent outside the Shadow, West Kent in the Shadow

East Kent and North Kent former industrial regions, more so than rest of Southeast – still suffering

Main transport networks to Europe seem to make little difference – bypass peripheral areas

New Hi Speed Rail not had impact yet, though Ashford has had 15 years of Eurostar.

Many declining Seaside Towns, older populations, deprived populations, reliant on public sector.

Despite huge Higher Education employment in East Kent not similar eco development as Cambridge and Oxford

Loss of Pfizer 3000 more jobs going over next few months, multinational withdrawal

National fiscal policy likely to hit East Kent very hard due to high public sector employment and government cuts

Conclusions Inquiry . (UK employment census)

  • London casts a huge Shadow over South east region so not all share equally the benefits of London’s Global City Status.

  • It is clear that distance from London and place in the urban hierarchy are important indicators of employment structure.

  • Distance, Size, Geography, Transport, History, Politics, Governance all matter.

  • Policy initiatives needs to be reviewed. More retail led regeneration initiatives are unlikely to work. One size fits all.

  • Need to build on advantages provided by Geography and Location. Beaches, Piers, Harbours, Runways, Tunnels, Cliffs, Cathedrals and build on the advantages of proximity to London. Olympic Games could show off the region.

  • East Kent in particular is far enough away from London to be outside the Shadow in some senses. It should take advantage of that.