Steps towards a ‘demographic-environmental-socio-economic’ classification of residential neighbourhoods

Walford, Nigel and Armitage, Richard (2016) Steps towards a ‘demographic-environmental-socio-economic’ classification of residential neighbourhoods. In: Royal Geographical Society (RGS) with the Institute of British Geographers (IBG) Annual International Conference: Nexus Thinking; 30 Aug - 02 Sep 2016, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


The use of area-based neighbourhood classifications to characterise and interpret spatial patterns in population is now common place, with both commercial and open data products being available. However, current data products focus on characterising areas based on mainly socio-economic variables, which effectively separates the human and physical components of the environment. Much research has indicated that physical environment has an impact on an individual and group’s quality of life. The aim of the research on which this paper is based is to investigate the impacts of introducing different forms of environmental (land cover) and landscape indicators into area classification systems. It seeks to determine whether the inclusion of such indicators enhances the results of existing area classifications and potentially contributes to the continuing debate relating to the experience of environmental justice amongst different sections of modern society. The approach adopted is to derive a series of environmental variables from digital mapping and remotely sensed sources, and combine these with socio-economic variables. The variables in these combined environmental and socio-economic datasets are then subjected to the multivariate classification techniques hitherto applied to one of these types of data in the absence of the others. Comparison of results obtained from these joint analyses with those from the separate datasets enables the ‘added value’ of combining these data to be assessed.

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