CHALLENGE 1 - social and economic: urban deprivation, inequalities in housing, education, health and employment
Whilst Newcastle is a fantastic city and a great place to live and work for many reasons, it is not without its challenges. There are huge variations in wealth and access to jobs across Newcastle.
Newcastle is an incredibly unequal city. Millionaires live in very close proximity to people who survive on less than a living wage. According to Newcastle City Council;
1. Newcastle is the 53rd most deprived English local authority, out of 326.
2. 65,000 people, more than 20% of Newcastle’s population, live in areas that are among the 10% most deprived in the country
3. Newcastle is one of the 20 per cent most deprived districts/unitary authorities in England,
4. 29 per cent (13,800) of children living in low-income families.
5. Over 14% of households live in fuel poor homes in Newcastle and other parts of the northeast, compared to an average of 11% in England.
6. Newcastle has the dubious distinction of hosting the largest foodbank in Britain.
7. Life expectancy for both women and men is lower than the England average. Within Newcastle, the difference in life expectancy is 13.1 years lower for men and 10.9 lower for women in the most deprived areas compared to the least.
These huge differences in wealth result in big differences in people’s access to and success with in housing, education, health and employment. the difference in house prices can be seen on tghe map below.
|Trends or patterns|
|Housing||Housing in Newcastle is £26,000 cheaper than the National Average at £204,000. However, this masks big variations in house prices within the city. Housing in some districts is very cheap, however many areas such as Jesmond and Gosforth have housing in excess of £500,000, well out of the price range of the average person. This means many people, younger people in particular, are left stuck in a “rent trap”.|
|Education||Children across Newcastle do not get equal exam grades. Generally, students in the poorest areas of the city score the lowest number of GCSEs per pupil. This can be seen on the graph below|
|Health||The people in wealthy areas tend to live longer than those in the poorer areas of Newcastle. The census 2011 showed that the % of people reporting themselves as in “Not good health was also highest in the areas of lowest income”.|
|Employment||The number of Economically Active people in Newcastle in 2018 was 147,300, or 71.8%. This is lower than the national average of 78.5%. Similarly, more people in Newcastle are unemployed in Newcastle compared to the rest of the UK 5.4% versus 4.2%.|
Inequality across Newcastle
Source of maps - CDRC
CHALLENGE 2 - urban decline and deprivation
Urban decline is the deterioration of the inner city often caused by lack of investment and maintenance. It is often (but not always) accompanied by a decline in population numbers, decreasing economic performance and unemployment. The photograph below shows urban decline in Scotswood, in the west of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Urban deprivation is a standard of living below that of the majority in a particular society that involves hardships and lack of access to resources. Places suffering from urban deprivation have visible differences in housing and economic opportunities been the rich living alongside poor people. You can see patterns of multiple deprivation on the maps above.
Despite the large wealth found in parts of Newcastle upon Tyne many areas suffer from both Urban Decline and the people suffer from deprivation. It is particularly hard for the poorest people to have a decent standard of living because the prices of many things are more expensive, especially rents which account for a huge proportion of people’s incomes. Areas like Byker, Walker and Benwell have the highest unemployment rates in the city, and are all located in the old inner city areas where manufacturing industries used to dominate but have now largely closed down.
This can result in a cycle of urban decline;
Challenge 3 – Dereliction of land
Urban dereliction is when areas of cities are abandoned and the buildings become dilapidated. There is a sizeable supply of brownfield land in Newcastle, which to date remains in part untapped. Figures published by Newcastle Council identified 123 brownfield or derelict sites that have the potential for development covering 131 hectares. A new housing development in Scotswood opposite the Metro Centre is a good example of how derelict land can be brought back into use.
ABOVE - Clearance of Scotswood, Newcastle, an area that has suffered urban decline
The issues of urban decline, deprivation and dereliction all have massive impacts on people and the environment. Councils like Newcastle have to decide if they build upon brownfield and Greenfield sites, and the impact of those decisions on the rural urban fringe. This issue is covered in greater detail here - UIC - Newcastle - Urban Sprawl
Challenge 6 - Waste disposal
Newcastle also produces huge amounts of waste. However, the city has reduced the volume of waste and recycling or recovering parts of the waste. This is important, as it means that less waste ends up in landfill (where the rubbish is dumped into a hole in the ground and covered over).
In 2018, on average, every Newcastle household threw away 13kg of waste per week. By 2030, to meet national targets this would need to reduce to around 8kg. Over a year, this would mean reducing or diverting from treatment over 35,000 tonnes of waste, not accounting for all the extra waste produced by the expected 21,000 new homes in the city.
Currently the council spends over £20 million a year on recycling and waste collection and disposal.
The improvements in how Newcastle deals with its waste are due to;
• 2006 - Byker Resource Recovery Centre opened to captures the organic/food content of rubbish to produce a compost. Other recyclables, mainly metals, are also extracted. This process recycles or recovers 75% of the material that is sent to the facility. 15
• 2008 - blue-wheeled bins introduced across the city to encourage recycling.
• Since 2010 thousands of tonnes of residual waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill have been used instead to produce energy and heat, either within the region or in Sweden. Last year over 40,000 tonnes were used in this way.
• 2013 - moved to a weekly alternating collection of rubbish and recycling resulted in an increase of around 2,000 tonnes in dry recycling collected.
• Worked with schools through the bespoke ‘Enviroschools’ programme to educate and inform the next generation about waste and their role and responsibility to the wider environment. Thousands of students and the wider school community have benefited from this.
• Compost the collected green and garden waste, such as from the brown bins, within the city.
Next Topic - UIC - Newcastle - Urban Sprawl