We’ve seen plenty of demographic visualisations before, but Luminocity keeps things simple and easy to interpret. What’s more, it looks all fancypants with its mulberry, fuchsia and violet hues.
The site takes census data from 2001 and 2011 to map populations densities. It works for the whole of the UK, but the story in London is particularly illuminating. It’s put together by Duncan Smith of LSE Cities, an international research centre at London School of Economics.
No surprise to see that the City of London and Mayfair are among the least densely populated areas of central London. There are also notable black holes just north of King’s Cross on the former railway lands, and west of Vauxhall. Expect these to light up brightly when the 2021 census data is taken — both areas are currently under massive redevelopment. The Lower Lea Valley resembles a huge canyon running north-south through the East End. This, too, should see some infill over the next decade.
The densest inner-city areas are clustered north of Paddington and the near East End (Stepney, Poplar, Bethnal Green). These are all areas dominated by tower blocks. Camberwell, Peckham and — perhaps more surprisingly — Pimlico, also look pretty hot.
Few surprises here. The City, Docklands and West End (particularly Soho) dominate. Perhaps more interesting are the ‘islands’, further out. Centres such as Denmark Hill, Clapham, Hammersmith, Hampstead and Hackney all glow strongly, indicating thriving local business and/or public sector.
This view shows relative population changes between 2001 and 2011. The big story here is the East End. Density has increased markedly from the Isle of Dogs north to Hackney, and round to Stoke Newington. Shoreditch and Whitechapel are particularly notable in this respect. Further east, Woolwich, Ilford and Barking have all got busier. And out west, Paddington and Maida Vale join the club.
There seems to be less of a pattern to the areas that have decreased in density, with localities spread across town. The biggest patch of purple (showing a marked decrease) is round Elephant and Castle, where the vast Heygate Estate is now bereft of residents, awaiting redevelopment. Large areas of Kensington and Chelsea have also thinned out, presumably linked to the ever-increasing exclusivity and house prices in the area.
Have a play, and see if you can spot any other trends.