Urban Rebranding

How successful have urban areas been in rebranding themselves?

I studied London Docklands as a case study for urban rebranding.

How has the Docklands rebranded itself?

  1. The Olympics 2012 has given Eastern London a stimulus of sport for rebranding. Being such a major event it has been organised in an efficient fashion and many developments have come into the area.
  2. Flagship developments have been developing. This includes the Olympic village which has affordable housing in it and many forms of sports stadiums and studios.
  3. Industrial Heritage is also an important aspect. In the 1980s, St Katherine’s Dock in Tower Hamlets, went through the process of rebranding. We saw evidence of industrial heritage there for example, sculptures of elephant, names of buildings e.g. ‘Ivory house’ and even old window designs were kept in some buildings.
  4. Being a sports event many opportunities have come about in the way of sports. For example sports training facilities and many stadiums will be used as leisure spaces after the event.
  5. St Katherine’s Dock which was rebranded in 1980s, has emphasis in allowing people to walk along the River Thames and the docks. Water is keep aspect in the regeneration of St Katherine’s Dock.
  6. The Olympics 2012 has taken on the challenge to be the greenest games ever. This means that developments are not just taking place on greenfield site, but brownfield sites too. Soil in these sites contains cyanide and mercury and rather than replacing the soil, it is been decided to be cleaned and put back on o the land. It is more costly but it more sustainable.

How can we measure the success?

  1. Photographs – they give us a feel for the place and comparing it to the photos from the past we can make judgements whether the change has been successful or not.
  2. Maps – again the give us accurate description of the physical landscape of what a place used to be and comparing it to a map from today we can see the change. We can also monitored how has the access of the city changed. Using figures we can say whether the access has been a success or not in drawing in visitors.
  3. Census is a database which contains a range of information from the employment status to the average number of people living per room. The last one took place in 2001 so when the next one happens in 2011 we can see whether figures such as employment status has improved or not.
  4. Www.upmystreet.com’ is similar to the census but this gives us profiles of a place as well as photographs and statistics. Looking at how a place is doing on this website we can decide if they are doing well or not.
  5. Blogs and forums are also good places to see what peoples opinions are of places and looking at different time intervals might show us whether people are getting a more positive image after rebranding.

GIS & Technology in Meteorology

What is a GIS?

Geographic information systems are software tools and digital maps that allow users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyse spatial information, edit data, maps etc.It can help with assessing current and future scenarios. In a GIS software you can switch layers on and off allowing one to see different scenarios and evaluate different data. They can be used to prepare mathematical models for extreme weather forecasting because it can process complex spatial information unlike other electronic devices.

Examples of geographic information systems:

  • Google Earth
  • Kalypso
  • Capaware
  • FalconView

What are these softwares used for?

  1. Risk analysis of weather hazards i.e. land users near hazard prone areas and the effect of different management strategies upon them.
  2. To identify people/groups and properties at risk from different magnitudes of extreme weather events. This is particularly useful for insurance companies too.
  3. To identify possible impacts of climate change for example, modelling increased rainfall intensity and frequency or higher temperatures.This includes other scientific investigations which it is used for.
  4. Helping decisions of what sort of management should take place in an area. It can help decide which location would be the most effective and what form defences should be put in place i.e. hard engineering or soft engineering.
  5. The software can help various agencies involved in the supply of services such as water, telecommunication, electricity, road, hospital etc. to understand the potential risks and impacts of extreme weather linked directly to their facilities and infrastructure.
  6. Can help organisations such as the Environmental Agency plan weather warning systems and identify the groups of population with the most risk.

The role of technology in metrology 

Technology has lets us become very precise and efficient in planning, preparing and managing with extreme weather conditions. We can now predict hazards accurately; for example Hurricane Katrina was predicted accurately 6 days before the event by the National Hurricane Centre. As well as that, we are able to protect ourselves from these hazards for example the Thames Barrier protects parts of London from being flooded.

So what new technology do we have today?

  1. We have better computer modelling softwares which aids us in forecasting locations, durations and likely impacts of extreme weather. An example of this is GIFS (Global Interactive Forecasting System) which uses advance grid computation technology.
  2. Weather radar data can help us forecast precipitation. It uses Doppler radar to accurately measure wind speed in severe storms and precipitation over large area of land.
  3. Satellites are good with forecasting hurricanes and floods. They are used to estimate the rate of rain etc.
  4. GIS as mentioned above can be used to prepare mathematical models for extreme weather forecasting because it can process complex spatial information.
  5. We can measure droughts and storms and predict how long they will be around by examining pressure with new aneroid barometers and satellites.
However important the role of technology; it can sometimes be hard to implement it in vulnerable communities because they do not have the technical capacity locally and many people may not have the skills to use it. The cost of training staff and the cost of technology itself can be a problem for some of the most affected parts of the world. There could also be issues with the standardisation of information across agencies and countries.