Drawing on what you have learned about City Road, outline some of the inequalities on a street that you know.
The purpose of this assignment is to outline some of the inequalities on a street that I know, namely Balham High Road, in order to draw comparisons to that on City Road.
Balham High Road forms part of the A24 which runs from Clapham to Tooting, south west London. It appears a typical high street serving a local population of 21,000 and provides a variety of retail options, banks and numerous coffee shops. It is well served by public transport with both the Northern Line tube and overground rail into Victoria via Clapham Junction. Balham is served by at least four bus routes providing links to a wide range of destinations. In addition, there is one night bus route that runs through the town centre. The street has witnessed a significant change in recent years with private sector investment assisting in ‘upgrading’ the area. There are an abundance of restaurants and bars which provides evening entertainment in a buzzy atmosphere.
Despite the higher than average proportion of affluent residents, there is an unequal division of wealth and this will form part of my discussion, particularly in relation to shopping and housing. I will then move on to discuss the inequalities that exist in the Polish immigrant community.
One of the first things that struck me when comparing the subject street to City Road was the inequality relating to the type of shops i.e. the number of branded retailers in comparison to independent traders. ‘The Street’ DVD showed several examples of prosperous independents such as the Sari Shop and Xquisite Africa whereas Balham High Road appears a clone of most other London high streets accommodating the usual suspects – WH Smiths, Boots, Carphone Warehouse along with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. A few independent shops exist but many have shut down over recent years due to unfair competitive pressure from the multiples and...
References: Blakely, G., Clarke, J., Raghuram, P., Silva, E., and Taylor, S., (2009) Learning Companion 1, Introducing the social sciences: part one, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
‘The Street’ (2009) Making Social Lives (DVD), Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Having not studied in many years, the most difficult part of this assignment was determining how to approach it. I overcame this by watching the DVD and reading the associated material, then I studied my subject street from the vantage point of a coffee shop and wrote down a plan for the structure and content. I struggled most with keeping to the point and providing a focussed piece of writing.
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