WIT Press

Transforming Landscapes Of Abandonment: Changing Perception Of Low Demand Housing Areas In Newcastle Gateshead, U.K.


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WIT Press


T. Townshend


Newcastle Gateshead in common with other industrial cities in northern England steadily lost population during the post-war period up to the 1990s. Much migration was in response to losses in traditional industries; however, within the conurbation there was also migration from inner city areas to more suburban and rural locations. The result was a ‘loose’ urban housing market with an overall surplus of housing stock. The outcomes of this process were unevenly spread, however and affected neighbourhoods very differently. In the worst cases, areas spiralled out of control into decline and abandonment. Meanwhile, the thrust of UK government policy on housing design and location is to get more people to live in urban, higher density, better quality, developments on reused brownfield land. Can such policies really succeed in places where there is low demand for housing and large numbers of existing properties lie empty and abandoned? Keywords: urban design, inner cities, low demand housing, abandonment. 1 Introduction Newcastle Gateshead, two administratively separate municipalities increasingly considered together in urban policy contexts, suffered severe economic decline from the early 1970s. Associated with this and in common with other major industrial areas of northern England, there was steady population decline up to the 1990s; though this appears to have now levelled off. This population decline particularly affected traditional working class communities, but the effects were unevenly spread and while some communities remained stable, others spiralled out of control into decline and abandonment. These abandoned areas contrast


urban design, inner cities, low demand housing, abandonment.