The quality of life at the Boardwalk in the Docklands is better than at Churchill Gardens in Pimlico

The hypothesis in which we must prove, or disprove, is that the quality of life at the Boardwalk in the Docklands is better than at Churchill Gardens in Pimlico. Whereas I can base this coursework purely on my perceptions on what a ‘good’ quality of life is, there are a number of factors we must take in to consideration before we explore this hypothesis any further.

Firstly, we must analyse the term quality of life. The quality of life is defined as “the product of the interplay among social, health, economic and environmental conditions which affect human and social development.” For instance, a 25 year old businessman or woman will require amenities based on his or hers occupation. Therefore, brilliant transport links, a home in close proximity to the office and an array of services are, in essence, basic amenities for this particular instance.

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By contrast, an OAP (old aged pensioner) would require a lot of support, thus, clubs for the elderly or a friendly, ‘close-knit’ community is required. He or she will also need an inexpensive lifestyle, since pension rates are not too high, and he or she will need the shopping parade close by. Universally, nobody will want to reside in an area with ‘high’ crime rates. Also, basic amenities such as central heating and electricity are also essential. Thus, the perception of a ‘good’ quality of life is changed by age, marital status, culture and employment.

In fact in most cases, the above examples determine both needs and circumstances of ones quality of life, most of all marital status, age and employment. People with children are liable to be ‘worse off’ than childless couples. This is because the value of child benefit has declined and affects the quality of life, as basic amenities cannot be paid for regularly. Thus services such as electricity, and central heating will not be as readily available and ‘luxuries’ such as a TV or a microwave will be ‘out of the question’.

This certainly connects to the wages a person earns. Obviously, the less one earns, the less likely he is to lead a good quality of life, but this is wholly dependent on the area in which the person lives in. For instance, living in London on a salary of �20,000 per annum is unlikely to pay for the expenses of a mortgage and live soundly, whereas in the North of England, for example Newcastle will easily pay a mortgage and permit one to live comfortably. To a lesser degree, ethnic race will, perhaps in some cases minimize the quality of life. In fact, in 1993, male unemployment among ethnic minorities was 21% whereas among whites it was 10%. Perceptively, this has decreased since the last census was published (2000).

There are also many ways to measure the quality of life. GDP (Gross Domestic Produce) is the most popular measurement of quality of life. An increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is said to represent well-being and thus depicts an improvement in the quality of life. However, this is not wholly accurate, as this does not measure any other factors that contribute to a ‘good’ or ‘poor’ quality of life. More specifically, social measurements such as amount of hospitals per km sq, population density and how ‘clean’ the air is and economic measurements such as percentage of residents unemployed in the area in question can also be used to good effect, to measure, not accurately, but adequately, the quality of life.

To measure the quality of life, its constraints and how it affects the inhabitants of the area in the Boardwalk and Pimlico, we used a variety of fieldwork techniques to come to a conclusion. (See methodology table – Section 2).

Location and history of respective sites

Churchill Gardens

History

Churchill Gardens was once the inspiring Bank Distillery and its houses in close proximity. However, this immense site suffered a fire in 1806, started by the landlord. It was, fortunately, re-built and stayed open until its closure in 1909. During the blitzkrieg in world war two, Pimlico endured heavy bomb damage. In 1944, a ‘plan for Pimlico’ was set forth to accommodate 30,000 residents in blocks of five to ten stories. In 1946, they won the architectural competition for the ‘plan for Pimlico’. Construction started immediately, and the estate was completed in 1962. Up until the ’80’s, Churchill Gardens was powered by Battersea Powers station. It also contained a huge cooling tower to warm and cool household water, which is still functioning today.

Location

Set within walking distance of Victoria station, Churchill Gardens has very easy access to tourist sites such as the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is also nearby Pimlico tube station, which is one stop on the Victoria line to Victoria. There is a healthy bus service, including bus numbers 24, C10 and 17, which are frequently available. As you can see from the map titled the location of Churchill gardens and the Boardwalk (fig. 1), it is very close to the River Thames, which is what the area thrived on in the past. It is in close propinquity to services such as hospitals, schools and churches, as seen in fig. 2 entitled annotated map of Churchill Gardens and nearby areas. Fig. 3 entitled a map of Churchill gardens and roads in its proximity also shows vast amounts of open space.

The Boardwalk

History

Originally the busiest port in the world, the London Docklands provided a wide variety of jobs including ship builders and Dockers. However a series of changes in the mid-twentieth century (many due to improvements in Technology) had left the docks effectively abandoned and derelict. By 1981, larger ships could no longer reach the port of London. Dockers became unemployed due to containerisation. As a result, the area suffered high rates of crime, houses had become derelict and transport links were extremely poor. Thus many changes such as bringing financial and ‘hit-tech’ firms in to the area, improving transport links (introducing the DLR) and creating 200,000 homes helped to increase the socio-economic status of East London and bring Canary Wharf to the forefront of world finance.

Location

Only a river crossing from the Dome, the Boardwalk is an exclusive area set within Poplar Docks. It is close to the Tower of London and Burmondsey, as shown on fig.1. Extensive transport links including the DLR and bus route numbers 15, 23 and 6 are close by. Fig. 4 entitled annotated map of Boardwalk and nearby areas, however, shows a distinct lack of amenities and services. Fig. 5 entitled the location of the Boardwalk and roads in its proximity show that although there are extensive transport links, noise pollution could be a problem for nearby residents.

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