Reopening London: 12 graphs and maps to help us think about what happens on April 12th
The emerging London High Streets Data Service provides the most comprehensive locally derived evidence base for specific places ever assembled.
Bringing together a range of proprietorial, public and primary data, it will provide a rapidly updated view of how London recovers and how specific places respond to the challenges of reopening and recovering. Underpinned by principles of public value and collaboration, the service will give public partners control over the data they access and how this is used.
Much of the data provides coverage of London as a whole and offers insight into how the city and its places may respond to the challenges of reopening and recovery.
Initial analysis can provide some clues as to how this might play out. The availability of real time data on movement (from O2) and spending (Mastercard) gives an indication of the trends that existed before the pandemic and how these responded to the ebb and flow of lockdowns in 2020. These are not perfect, but alongside local insight, they provide the basis for a much deeper understanding how a polycentric city like London works and what might happen the coming weeks and months.
The maps and most graphs below use July 2019 as the baseline, looking at what has happened since, or how this month compares with the end of September 2020. September 2020 was just before the government re-emphasised the need to work at home and the tier system was introduced (i.e. relatively open). Albeit in a different context, it gives us an idea of what could happen as the retail, leisure and visitor economy reopens after April 12th.
There are a lot of people to return…
Even in September worker presence in City of London, Heathrow and Canary Wharf was less than 50% of usual, with hundreds of thousands of people still working from home or on furlough.
Worker Activity in September 2020 compared to July 2019 baseline
In the last ‘opening’ central London catchments became very local
Visitors tended to come from immediate neighbouring boroughs. There was very little travel from outer to inner London.
Visitors to Westminster, Camden and the City by origin borough. Data covers evening activity at the weekend from the end of September 2020. The thickness of the line represents the number of visitors
Weekend night-time activity localised
Weekend night-time activity changed fundamentally. Many outer London centres saw visitors return to pre-lockdown numbers, whereas core night-time activity areas were at less than 50% of usual activity.
Saturday night visitor activity in July 2019
September 2020 change in visitor activity
As a result, places like Vauxhall have had much lower levels of night-time activity than usual
Profile of visitor activity in Vauxhall, July 2019 and the September 2020
Euston and King’s Cross St Pancras: 800m apart, but vastly different effects
The difference in offer at Euston and King’s Cross is illustrated by the number of visitors in September 2020. The King’s Cross offer, which is focused on bars/restaurants, leisure and visitor experience, struggled to recover.
2020 change in visitor activity in Euston and King’s Cross St Pancras
Traditional visitor hubs did not see a recovery in spending…
Spending on high streets fell significantly during the national lockdowns in 2020. This hit big centres like Camden hard and the level of spending never recovered.
Year on year change in high street spending in Camden town centre
… newer hubs, like Stratford, reliant on big chains also struggled
Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush, with a reliance on large malls and chain retailers saw limited recovery in spending in September 2020.
Year on year change in high street spending in Stratford town centre
… but more local centres proved more resilient
Local centres like Harlesden and Catford have proved resilient. Local high streets with a diverse food offer also fared well, with many seeing an increase in use.
Year on year change in high street spending in High Street, Harlesden
Year on year change in high street spending in Rushey Green and Catford Road, Catford
The success of the data partnership will depend on partners engaging and subscribing. If you’re interested in finding out more about the data or the High Streets Data Service, contact HighStreetsDataService@london.gov.uk for more information.