Sassen (2001) defines a global city as one within which “the linkages binding a city have a direct and tangible effect on global affairs through socio-economic means”. Sassen emphasises the ‘global’ importance of these cities. However, we must study the individual locations this global entity consists of, in order to fully understand the whole; something we have endeavoured to achieve through a focus on the districts of Shoreditch and Hoxton. To begin our report, we will first outline our research methodologies. Following this will be a literature review, analysing and summating the literature we have studied to support our fieldwork. The main section of the report will comprise our analysis of the question, exploring the transformation of London’s ‘industrial, occupational, income and residential’ structures. We will then discuss our analyses, drawing a conclusion focussing on the extent to which we believe London has been transformed.
The prevailing requirement of the question is to maintain a sensitivity towards the essence of both the social characterisation and structure of Shoreditch and Hoxton: this implies the need for a response based upon research that considers how and why London’s social environment is the way it is, rather than research that merely quantifies elements of its social environment. For this reason, the qualitative fieldwork collected during our walks around Shoreditch and Hoxton has formed the basis of this report. Our fieldwork includes field notes, personal responses and photos, all of which were collected via individual observation during a two hour circular tour around central areas within Shoreditch and Hoxton. After amalgamation, the coding of these grouped fieldwork records allowed the appropriate consultation of secondary research material necessary to question our observations. We believe that secondary research plays a subordinate role to personal fieldwork observations. Because of this, it is important to highlight the main limitation of our fieldwork: the brief, transitory nature of our experiences within Shoreditch and Hoxton may have misrepresented the ‘real’ character of the area. This meant it was particularly important to ensure accuracy by corroborating our findings with secondary articles specifically related to the areas of Shoreditch and Hoxton.
As London is an area of such importance at both micro and macro scales, there is an abundance of literature focussed on studying London’s economic trends and their repercussions. Hamnett’s (2005) transformative perspective on the ‘global city’ is seemingly the consensus of the literature. However, other scholars explore this more explicitly. Massey (2007) cites ‘Thatcherism’ and neoliberal ideologies as the instigator of London’s metamorphosis, seeking a catalyst for the change Hamnett (2005) identifies. Dicken (2007) highlights the extent to which ‘post fordism’ (production on a smaller scale) has influenced the...