Map: the 8 types of Londoner

Image: Future Cities Catapult

So here’s a fact worth knowing: 90 per cent of the data ever created has been generated over the past two years. In London, most of the data collected by the city is available, for free, through the London Datastore – which has been mined by everyone from researchers to app developers (most notably, Citymapper) since its launch four years ago.

Future Cities Catapult, a cities innovation centre, has put over 200 of the Datastore’s datasets to use in a new interactive map. In an attempt to “group neighbourhoods based on how we live – not where we live”,  researchers used factors like age, dwelling type, passports held, car ownership and crime levels to create eight categories of Londoners and plot them geographically. 

The groups have somewhat uninspiring names - Whereabouts 1, Whereabouts 2, etc - but each is instantly recognisable.  Take Whereabouts 3, the yellow group, who mostly live at the edges of the city in areas like Hornchurch and Uxbridge. They're the most elderly grouping and are the most likely to own a car and home. In these areas, crime is low, but health is poor. This diagram shows the group's scoring on different factors compared to the London average (the area shaded in gray): 

The most geographically dispersed group are Whereabouts 8, who are spread across central London and were the most likely to live in socially rented accommodation. This may explain the scattered nature of this group - social housing exists across all boroughs and prices won't necessarily follow local market rents. 

You can see the full map here and, if you're a Londoner, find out which group's the most common in your area. While you're at it, you could even come up with some more interesting names-  Time Out suggested  "Abhorrently Wealthy", "Where Londoners Go To Die" and "Your Peers, But With Better Careers".


Sadiq Khan and Grant Shapps clash over free bus travel for under 18s

A London bus at Victoria station. Image: Getty.

The latest front in the row between Transport for London (TfL) and national government over how to fund the capital’s transport system: free bus travel for the under 18s.

Two weeks ago, you’ll recall, TfL came perilously close to running out of money and was forced to ask for a bail out. The government agreed, but offered less money, and with more strings attached, than the agency wanted. At present, there are a range of fare discounts – some up to 100% – available to children depending on their age and which service they’re using, provided they have the right Oyster card. One of the government’s strings, the mayor’s office says, was to end all free TfL travel for the under 18s, Oyster or no Oyster.

The Department for Transport’s line on all this is that this is about maximising capacity. Many working-age people need to use buses to get to their jobs: they’re more likely to be able to do that, while also social distancing, if those buses aren’t already full of teenagers riding for free. (DfT cited the same motivation for banning the use of the Freedom Pass, which provides free travel for the retired, at peak times.)

But in an open letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps, the mayor, Sadiq Khan, wrote that TfL believed that 30% of children who currently received free travel had a statutory entitlement to it, because they attend schools more than a certain distance from their homes. If TfL doesn’t fund this travel, London’s boroughs must, which apart from loading costs onto local government means replacing an administrative system that already exists with one that doesn’t. 

Some Labour staffers also smell Tory ideological objections to free things for young people at work. To quote Khan’s letter:

“It is abundantly clear that losing free travel would hit the poorest Londoners hardest at a time when finances are stretched more than ever... I want to make sure that families who might not have a choice but to use public transport are not further disadvantaged.”

London’s deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, is set to meet government officials next week to discuss all this. In the mean time, you can read Khan’s letter here.

UPDATE: The original version of this piece noted that the full agreement between the mayor and DfT remained mysteriously unpublished. Shortly after this story went live, the agreement appeared. Here it is.

Jonn Elledge was founding editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.