London is an amazing city and it offers a huge range of OPPORTUNITIES to the people who live there or migrate there.
Social and Economic Opportunities:
OPPORTUNITY 1 - Cultural mix
The cultural mix or multiculturalism basically refers to a country or place that has more than one culture living together in close proximity. Multiculturalism is an issue in many HICs and can be viewed in both a positive light and as something that can pose problems that need careful management.
The increasing interconnections of our world and the ever moving populations of our planet via migration mean that most cities like London around the globe especially in HICs have huge numbers of people of all different races, religions and cultures
The UK has huge numbers of cultures and races, as well as white British people there are huge numbers of migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, USA, Kenya, Zimbabwe and other ex-British colonies. In addition, there are also lots of people from Europe and countries outside of the ex-colonies and the European Union. In addition, many of the "newer" cultures to the UK are not actually that new at all! Jamaicans and other peoples from the Western Caribbean have lived in the UK for many generations, and many Asian peoples who migrated here now have 3rd and 4th generation families living in the UK.
The Census of 2011 revealed that;
1. London is one of the most diverse places not just in Britain but on planet Earth;
2. In three boroughs - Newham, Brent and Tower Hamlets - white people are now in the minority.
3. Inner London has the highest non-white population in the country, with 37 per cent of residents from an ethnic minority. In outer London, the figure falls slightly to 27 per cent.
4. London is more diverse than any other part of the country; with the only other area to record a figure in excess of 20 per cent is the West Midlands.
This migration and multiculturalism has been advantageous for London. It enriches huge areas of London cultural life, from the amazing array of food that is available on nearly every high street in London to the music variety we have (the BBC's Asian Radio channel is a great example of this). Other advantages include the great exposure people get to other religions, languages and cultural parties. The London also benefits from huge cultural events celebrating this multiculturalism, such as the Notting Hill Carnival. The cultural mix in London also highlights what a broadly tolerant and Liberal people the citizens of the London are - a fine compliment.
A cultural mix is not without its difficulties. One of the big issues for London and other parts of the UK is INTEGRATION. How can we ensure that all new peoples moving to London and other parts of the UK can converse properly in English, mix with other groups and have access to all of the advantages of being a UK subject. Another issue is ghettoes, how can we prevent economically poorer cultural groups living in the poorest parts of our cities. Language is another issue, and many public services such as schools and hospitals have to provide language translation services.
OPPORTUNITY 2 - Recreation and entertainment
London is blessed when it comes to recreation and entertainment;
• It has a huge number of cultural attractions such as the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum.
• It has the West End where a huge number of shows can be seen and tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
• On top of that London has a huge number of concert and cinema venues and lots of sporting events such as the Oxford-Cambridge Boat race, the Wimbledon Tennis Open, many big name football teams and even hosted the Olympics.
• Add to that the usual mix of bars, restaurants and street entertainment common of most large cities then London has a great select of recreation and entertainment.
OPPORTUNITY 3 - Employment.
The graph shows that the economy of London is different to that of the rest of the UK. It is dominated by financial and insurance activities, mainly located in the City of London. Overall;
• London is by far the largest contributor to the economy among the English regions and countries of the UK.
• In 2010 London’s gross value added (GVA) was over £274 billion. It represented 22 per cent of the UK total, the largest regional share.
• London was responsible for 46 per cent of the total UK GVA from the financial and insurance activities sector.
• London houses a major world financial centre and a range of business specialisms which attract a highly skilled workforce.
• London residents (aged 16 to 64 and working) are more likely to be employed in managerial, professional or associate professional and technical occupations, compared with the UK (54 and 43 per cent respectively in 2011).
• However the unemployment rate was one of the highest. London’s employment rate was 67.5 per cent in the period October to December 2011, below the average of 70.3 per cent for the UK. The unemployment rate was 10.0 per cent compared with 8.4 per cent for the UK.
OPPORTUNITY 4 - Integrated transport systems
London has a really developed INTEGRATED transport system. Integrated transport means that all of the different forms of transport can link to one another. Its transport network includes both private and public services. Public transport accounts for 25% of London's journeys.
London also serves a public transport network hub for the whole of the UK –many UK motorways converge on London’s orbital ring road the M25, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted serve as major hub International air ports, busses congregate here and trains link the UK together at stations like Kings Cross and connect to Europe via Eurostar from St Pancras.
London bus by Oxyman (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
Transport for London controls the majority of transport in London including the London Underground, the iconic red London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway, and the London Over ground.
London Commuters can travel on most forms of transport using the Oyster card. This card is a credit-card-sized electronic ticket that can be used cheaply and topped up in stations or on line. It can be used on most forms of transport in London.
London also has an integrated cycle network, it is estimated that over one million Londoners own bicycles but as of 2008 only around 2 per cent of all journeys in London are made by bike.
OPPORTUNITY 5 - Environmental: urban greening
Urban greening means to increase the amount and proportion of green spaces within a city. These green spaces are essential for people’s quality of life. London has made attempts to offer lots of green spaces within its urban area by;
1. Creating ROOFTOP green spaces - the Greater London Authority have produced a green roof map of around 700 green roofs in central London alone, covering an area of over 175,000m2. That’s 17.5 hectares or around 25 football pitches! These roofs are used as living spaces and spaces to grow plants.
2. Using canals, rivers and river jetties as significant water bird breeding roosts
3. Making major new building projects take into consideration urban green spaces, including the Olympic Village
4. Offering a huge range of green spaces open to the public including Hampstead Heath just 4 miles from Trafalgar Square, Burnham Beeches and Stoke Common which combine open space, wildlife habitat and recreational areas, and Queen’s Park in North London