Does Environmental Quality improve with distance from the Central Business District? Essay

The hypothesis to be examined in this section was ‘does Environmental Quality improve with distance from the Central Business District?’ and the investigation was carried out in an urban area of the industrial city of Wakefield, in the North-East of England. Four sites along a transect of 1.5km, which stretched from Newton Bar to the end of Wood Street, were chosen and then at each point an Environmental Quality Survey was recorded. This is a map of the transect with the four points investigated on it marked with a cross.

Newton Bar

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St. John’s

Avenue

Wentworth Street (Outside WGHS)

Wood Street

Method

To collect information for this hypothesis, a transect of 1.5km was walked along and at four points, approximately a 1/4 of the way along the transect, an environmental survey was carried out. To record the results of these surveys, printed sheets with different descriptions of the environment on it, were used. On each measure of environmental quality, there was a scale from +5 to -5 and these stood for good and bad quality, a score was recorded at each testing site. The scores on each different sheet were added up to give an overall score of environmental quality. Graphs were then drawn for each site tested to show their scores on each measure of testing.

Discussion – Interpretation and Analysis of Results

Newton Bar – Survey 1

Newton Bar got an overall environmental quality score of -7, which is the second worst out of the four sites tested. Most of the scores on the measures are negative but it has got some positive score, such as attractiveness, amount of people and state of repair. I was surprised that Newton Bar got a score of -2 on its surroundings because as Newton Bar is not in the CBD, I thought that there would be more space for non-enclosed, pleasant surroundings, such as attractive buildings but the buildings are not particularly different to the ones in the CBD. I also thought that because Newton Bar is not in the CBD, it would be cheaper to buy land there and so there would be a lot more buildings than there were.

St. John’s Avenue – Survey 2

St John’s Avenue got an overall score of -6, which is the second best out of the four sites tested. St John’s Avenue got mostly negative scores on the measures of environmental quality but it did receive positive scores for the level of noise, amount of congestion and cleanliness. I think St John’s Avenue got negative scores for things to do, variety and liveliness because it is not in the CBD and is mainly a housing area so not many entertainment businesses would want to locate there as it is not in the most accessible area for their customers and they may lose the trade they get from passers-by. I was surprised that St John’s Avenue got a score of +1 for congestion because as it is on the way out of the CBD and on a main road to Leeds, I would have expected more cars to be going down it and getting congested, maybe if the survey had been carried out on a different day there would have been.

Wentworth Street (Outside WGHS) – Survey 3

Wentworth Street got an overall environmental quality score of -12, which is the worst out of the four sites where surveys were carried out. All Wentworth Street’s scores are negative apart from the amount of people which is only positive because of the time of day the survey was carried out. If the survey had been completed at about 4.10pm, then WGHS would have finished for the day and so there would be a lot of people around the site which would have led to Wentworth Street getting a negative score for amount of people as well. I think Wentworth Street’s score could have been improved if it had had more flowers and/or trees around the site surveyed.

Wood Street – Survey 4

Wood Street got an overall environmental quality score of -3, which is the best of the four sites surveyed. Wood Street got an equal number of positive and negative scores but the negative scores were generally quite high – i.e. of -3 and over which is why the overall score came out as negative. I was not surprised that Wood Street got positive scores for things to do, variety and liveliness because it is in the central business district of Wakefield and CBDs usually have quite a wide selection of things to do such as shops to visit, bars to go in etc. I was also not surprised that Wood Street received a negative score for congestion, noise level or surroundings because it is in the CBD and so will have a lot of cars going down it creating noise and congestion and as being in the CBD with a business or shop is so desirable, Wood Street is very enclosed with lots of 2 and 3 story buildings.

Conclusion

I found that my results did not agree with the hypothesis because my results show that the environmental quality in Wakefield does not improve with distance from the CBD. In fact, my results vary far too much for my investigation to have been a fair one. The results I found start off quite bad with -3 in Wood Street, then get 4 times worse with -12 in Wentworth Street, then get much better in St John’s Avenue with -6 and then get worse again at Newton Bar with -7 so my results do not support the idea put forward in the hypothesis at all. However, I did find out that most traffic seems to be in the CBD and so is the most congested and the CBD also has the most things to do, Wentworth Street is the dirtiest of the four sites and Newton Bar is the most attractive; which shows that the sites tested did have both positive and negative scores.

Evaluation

I did this investigation to find out whether environmental quality improves with distance from the CBD and found that, in Wakefield, it doesn’t and that it varies considerably.

If I were to do this investigation again I would complete all the surveys in one day, (as I had to do 2 one day and 2 the next) and then work out averages of my results with another person so that I had the most accurate results possible.

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