Hybrid geodemographics and creation of the 2021 Output Area Classification (ONS Collab)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Geography


Geodemographics are small area indicators of neighbourhood conditions, conventionally used to depict the variegated residential geographies of towns and cities. Although the approach has its roots in the primary data collection of urban sociologists Park and Burgess in 1920s Chicago, procedures of ascribing neighbourhoods to social, economic and demographic types relied upon secondary data from population censuses until the 1980s. With the advent of applications in commerce and public service delivery, data have been supplemented and partially replaced by commercial and open sources that offered greater frequency of update and depth (particularly in ascertaining income and spending preferences). Over the last ten years, improved access to censuses and the innovation of the Open Data movement has led to the addition of open geodemographic classifications that present greater transparency of data and methods. A final innovation has been the reconfiguration and re-use of census data to provide small area classification of activities other than night-time residence, specifically workplaces or their extension to explore varying temporal geographies.
In the first work strand, the methodologies used to develop the 2011 and 2001 Output Area Classifications (OACs) from conventional Census data will be evaluated, and neighbourhood change statistics will be compared and contrasted for different parts of the UK's urban and regional system. In the second work strand, the student will develop methods for regularly (e.g. annually) updating Output Area Classifications. A third strand of the research will use consumer data to characterise the overall activity patterns associated with neighbourhoods, and their interrelatedness with workplace zone geographies. This will be a high impact project. The 2001 and 2011 OAC products have been made available through the ONS website and have attracted a wide user base from within the local authority, business and industry sectors. In addition, the classification arising from this research will be mapped using the very popular and highly interactive maps.cdrc.ac.uk website and ONS will consider rejuvenating the OAC 2011 User group which attracted membership from local authorities and government across the UK. Additionally, we anticipate that the activity indicators will be of interest to the businesses that supply data to ONS under the terms of the 2017 Digital Economies Act or through associated voluntary activities. The agenda that is proposed here also has clear relevance to retailers and businesses with interests in store location planning and the provision of
facilities to improve customer experience of multi-channel retailing.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000592/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2223619 Studentship ES/P000592/1 01/09/2019 30/09/2022 Jakub Wyszomierski