2015 Prosperity index

Interesting interactive map and data released showing how the UK compares with other countries around the world. The overall rank takes into account the following factors:

  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship and opportunity
  • Governance
  • Health
  • Economy
  • Safety and security
  • Personal freedom
  • Social capital


The UK is ranked in 15th place.


Other notable scores include:

  • Norway = 1st
  • USA = 11th
  • Germany = 14th
  • France = 22nd
  • Russia = 58th
  • Central African Republic = 142nd

View the interactive map here


You can also download the data as an Excel spreadsheet

Source: Legatum Prosperity Index

Successes and failures of urban regeneration

Stratford in London

Urban regeneration schemes are not always successful. Often though it is not as clear-cut as success or failure. One scheme may be deemed a huge success by some but a failure by others.

Stratford in London is a case in point. As a result of the Olympic Games being held in the East of London in 2012, huge investment was made in the area. Although major benefits have resulted, have those benefits been shared by all?

Below is a collection of resources to help students consider the extent of success relating to the regeneration of Stratford as part of the London 2012 games

VIDEO – Urban Regeneration – The 2012 London Olympics

Views on the regeneration two years on

More views on the regeneration of the area

London’s Olympic legacy three years on: is the city really getting what it needed?

London’s Olympics legacy faces early disqualification

Shops boarded, buildings gutted and streets in a mess: The sorry side of Stratford that Olympic chiefs don’t want you to see

East end regeneration: Factsheet

The impact of regeneration on the Carpenters estate

GEOCASES – Urban Regeneration: The London Olympics 2012

Olympics legacy: Did the Games succeed in rejuvenating East London? 

The Olympics and Urban regeneration in the East End of London – all good? 

‘Stratford: The Vital Statistics’ is a report produced by the Stratford Renaissance Partnership (SRP). It illustrates how the area has changed as a result of the investments made in the area. An overview can by viewed here on the ‘Stratford Rising’ website

VIDEO – Locals say Olympics redevelopments have done little to improve neighbourhood

VIDEO – Building the Olympic dream? Not everyone is convinced

In this Guardian article from August 2016 it is claimed that ‘London Olympics has brought regeneration, but at a price locals can’t afford’

Source – The Guardian

Preparing to teach the new A Level

To help support teachers in the planning and teaching of the new AS and A Level Geography Specifications from September 2016, I have been collecting resources which may be useful.



The resources have been categorised according to the new WJEC and Eduqas Specifications in England and Wales. However, as there is now so much common content, the resources will likely be of use to those teaching Specifications from other awarding bodies.

The links are not a definitive list or endorsed by WJEC, but provide a stimulus for lesson planning and preparing revision materials.

This is a live document. Links on the individual pages are regularly updated.

Access the Resources Index here

North of England floods – Christmas 2015

Cause and Effect

It has not been long since floods last hit the headlines in the UK. Last time it was Cumbria that was hit by torrential rains and swollen rivers as a result of Storm Desmond. Now, less than a month later, Yorkshire and Lancashire have been hit over the Christmas period.

natfull0612 from ITV News on Vimeo.

Experts have linked the unseasonable weather around the world to El Nino: BBC News report and Guardian article

December saw record breaking figures recorded by Met Office observing stations. Just under a months worth of rain fell in some places in a 24 hour period meaning that already saturated ground was unable to cope. This led to widespread flooding in villages and towns around York, Leeds and Manchester. Police in West Yorkshire stated that it was the worst flooding experienced in 70 years.

In York, the River Ouse was 5.1 metres above normal summer river levels around the Christmas period.

River Ouse
Source: Gaugemap

Over 500 soldiers were sent into areas worst affected by flooding as 27 severe flood warnings were in place, meaning “danger to life”. Thousands of homes were left without power in the Greater Manchester area, whilst over 2000 people were evacuated from homes in York and hundreds from properties in Salford as rivers burst their banks.


dgreenvt from ITV News on Vimeo.

Many were left hoping that the damage caused to their homes will be covered by their insurance. However, the small print in some policies may leave some with a nasty surprise


The future – reducing the risks?

After the immediate danger had passed and people began the clear-up, many were again asking what can be done to mitigate against such events in the future? There are many examples of flood gates, walls and other methods that have been put in place after previous flood events. Although some of these  served to reduce the impacts this time around, many have not and may not do so in the future.

Development site
Source unknown

For years, many have called into question the decision to continue allowing permission for new housing to be built on floodplains. A recent Greenpeace investigation claimed that even now,  the government has still earmarked flood risk areas for the building of 9000 new homes as part of it’s fast track home building programme.

Furthermore, in a recent article published on the 9th December it is claimed by The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), that in August it warned the government that it needed to take action in relation to the number of homes at risk from future flood events. In October 2015 the government rejected this stating that a “….. strategy to address future residual risk would not be appropriate at this time.”

This interesting article asks: ‘What have we done to make flooding worse?

Do we need a Dutch-style delta plan to mitigate against future floods? After the storms and devastating floods that hit the Netherlands in 1953, huge investment has taken place in the country to prevent a future event. The centre piece is the ‘Delta Works Programme’.

However, not everywhere in Yorkshire fell foul of the wet weather. The town of Pickering decided not to adopt yet more hard engineering approaches, but to work with nature rather than against it.


Time for a rethink?

Have we learned our lessons from previous flood events?

Could more be done to prevent devastating floods?

VIDEO – Back-to-nature flood scheme

VIDEO – River Nar: Felled trees used to slow flow and stop flooding

It has also been suggested after previous floods that ‘careless farming‘ is a factor adding to the  flood risk in the UK

Should farmers be obliged to stop potential flooding? Some have suggested that farmers receiving public money should be forced to trap water on their land to reduce the chances of flooding further downstream.


Sources: The Independent; BBC News; GaugeMap; The Guardian; Sky News; Mail Online; ITV News; Housing Network – The Guardian; The Met Office; i100