Vacancy & Postcodes

In 2010 the GLA (Greater London Authority) surveyed residential units in the private sector to determine the number of vacant homes. The useful London Data Store gives us access to this survey, albeit the exact locations are cut a bit for privacy reasons (I will get into this later).

With Brock Craft I've been attempting to use key data sources to create a new series of maps for London. In particular, we're interested in land availability within the city and how it is used. It probably goes without saying, but London is very expensive. Though some reports show that we're coming to the end of this boom, it is impossible to ignore the extremely high cost of living that has occurred as a result. While residents debate heavily and love to point fingers and who or what is to blame, one thing is for certain: we love to blame the non-resident homeowners.

What exactly do I mean by 'non-resident homeowner?' Specifically these are individuals that purchase residences for investment purposes without the intention of living within the new home. One of the best examples of this is One Hyde Park (marketed as one of the wealthiest addresses for flats in London), where a recent survey found only 19 flats of the 86 units occupied. The other units either acted as owned-but-empty flats, flats owned by corporations, or second homes.

As mentioned earlier, the GLA has done an extensive survey in 2010 looking at empty homes. The data gives us a listing of the number of empty homes by postcode, along with additional information for each empty home (Number of years empty for instance). However, for understandable privacy reasons, the authority distributes the data with the last two digits of the post code removed leaving us with something called the postcode sector. This gives us the postcode district, the single space, and the first character of the inward code. In many cases this is a grouping of a few buildings, though the geographic size of the postcode sector will presumably increase in less dense areas.

London vacancies (red = more, yellow = less) concatenated to building footprints. 

A closer view of London's vacancies. Again, red = highest, yellow = least. 

Notice the patchy quality of the choreoplath above. This is a result of us only knowing the postcode sector.

Heatmap of empty homes survey based on location.

A few things to note!

All of these drawings are in progress, which is why I've deliberately left any true scale off (aside from relativity). Furthermore, the data is correct as of 2010. We're now 5 years ahead of this point and a lot has changed. The aforementioned One Hyde Park wasn't even complete as of the time of this data. There is a long way to go on these drawings, but they start to give us an interesting insight into the makeup of London.