When does geography become a story?

By | November 14, 2017

I love maps and am finding renewed value in studying the topography of our local communties. Where we live can have a big infulence on our personal identity and life chances. We grow up in a locality and become branded, as it were, by those associations.

Me, I was born in Baildon in Bradford and had family members around Shipley and Eccleshill. Even across those releatively nearby communities the experience of living in tightly defined localities can have a profound incluence on who we end up being and how we see the world.

As part of my work I’m getting together some data about community assets in particular areas so we can support partnership working ideas. When we see the layers of data laid out as geographic landscapes we can begin to see stories otherwise untold. Why are areas of povert so cleary defined, why are more children suffering in particular areas, where are the gaps in social provision?

There’s this impressive tool from the Church Urban Fund which enables you to look up places by postcode and get often shocking insights – e.g. Holbeck in Leeds.

Visit the Church Urban Fund poverty tool

You may have seen this already, but take a look at the Church of England parishes map overlaid with Index of Multiple Deprivation data.

Visit the CofE parishes map

I would encourage you to explore this data and see how you feel about the geography of wealth and poverty and what in means for you where you are.