UPPER SIXTH
Changes in cities of 50,000 in UK (Last 30 years) by D Preece
Key changes to cities of 50,000 or more over the past 30 years:
 Increase in connectivity. There are more commuters, and commuter suburbs. The existence of high quality dormitory settlements like Dorridge suggests this. It is backed up by the further existence of motorways and expressways constructed/designated within the last 30 years, e.g. Spaghetti Junction and the A38 Aston Expressway.

Decentralisation of the retail core of the CBD. This has been brought about by a higher population density allowing the threshold population of most stores to be reached in the suburbs e.g. Sainsbury’s in King’s Heath or Marks and Spencer in Harborne. It has also been brought about by increased personal mobility which has led to the development of the Out of Town Shopping Centre:
Out of Town Shopping Centres:
̃ Idea from 1950s USA which had just started to appreciate the independence of the car. The first was in Los Angeles.
first in the UK was the Metro Centre in Gateshead.
̃Merry Hill, the OTSC for Birmingham and Wolverhampton was developed on the site of the former Round Oak Steelworks.
̃ It was developed by the Richardson Brothers, local venture capitalists, who saw the potential when the steelworks was shut down. They purchased the land at a cheap price, and persuaded local retailers to invest. They went on to develop The Fort Shopping Centre, and are currently involves in the Millennium Site in Digbeth.
̃            Advantages to Retailers:
i)               Large retail floor space available.
ii)              Cheaper rent than in the CBD.
iii)            No building constraints - starting from scratch.
̃            Advantages to Consumers
i)               Pleasant atmosphere.
ii)              Free and plentiful car parking.
iii)            Wide variety of stores.
iv)            All in one design means that the shoppers are not affected by the weather.
 Social Characteristics change. Increases in crime, vandalism and violence as population increases. Decline in the secondary industries of the Midlands/North causes higher unemployment. Higher student population and facilities to cater for them.
Redevelopment of the Inner Cities to provide high quality and high cost accommodation for the noveau riche and well paid, e.g. Brindleyplace and Britannic Park.
Increase in migrant population and continued migrant dominance of certain areas. Handsworth is almost completely dominated by migrants, as is Sparkhill. Birmingham has an approximate migrant proportion of 40-50%
Change in function of the cities, from market to manufacturing centre and now to entertainment and meeting focal point for the local region, and indeed an international meeting place. Birmingham’s ICC, NEC, NIA and Symphony Hall have hosted major events in recent years, including the International Lions’ Club Convention, the G9 summit and the Eurovision Song Contest.