Understanding Neighbourhood Poverty


The module builds on the module lead’s 20+ years’ experience of researching on urban planning and poverty issues including:

  • Research on household poverty
  • Housing tenure and poverty
  • Low demand and abandonment
  • Regional planning and housing strategy policy at local, regional and national level

Recent additions to the module have included sessions on resilience and neighbourhoods and the role of energy in shaping future trajectories of neighbourhoods.

The course has three elements: theoretical, technical and policy related lectures which contribute to the understanding of neighbourhood poverty and series of practical workshops to develop analytical skills.

The workshops involve analysis of census and other large data sets at regional, city and neighbourhood level and work towards a project on identifying and explaining patterns of neighbourhood poverty as part of the assessment.

Guest lectures given by local and regional policy makers and stakeholders contribute to sessions on resilience and neighbourhood strategies.

The core argument of the module is that narratives of poverty and place start with our own perceptions of what poverty is and our experiences of where we have lived 


  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 20 hours of computer based workshops 


What is neighbourhood poverty and how would you measure it?

1 X 3000 word essay (50% of overall course mark)

This assignment will form a background methods / conceptual paper to support the second assignment (project report).

The essay should capture methodological issues of measuring spatial poverty including data sets, spatial boundaries, indicators and data sources and in approaching this you should describe whether place contributes to poverty setting out the methodological and empirical issues associated with measuring poverty at neighbourhood level in an area of your choice.

You should demonstrate here that you have engaged with the literature on poverty, deprivation and urban disadvantage and by doing so include an analysis of issues relating to the measurement of deprivation and a discussion of the indicators that could be used in your project report (second assignment).

Assignments will be marked in accordance with the extent to which indicators have been justified on the basis of the literature and how these indicators relate to theories of disadvantage.

You should also reflect on the limitations of aggregate data and whether measuring area based poverty is ‘valid’.

Profiling Neighbourhood Poverty in an area of your choice

1 X 3000 word project report (50% of overall mark)

This involves writing a report showing the concentrations of deprivation in a city/local authority/county of your choice and how do the most deprived areas differ in their characteristics, needs or ‘function’.

The second assignment builds on assignment #1. The aim is to construct an index of deprivation at neighbourhood level, identify concentrations of deprivation and highlight differences between areas.

Key skills

The module will help develop analytical skills that will help particularly in a planning, economic development or business development career and in graduate levels occupations generally.

Development of practical skills in handling data/secondary sources and software packages (eg: Excel, SPSS, ArcGIS, Q-GIS) and data platforms (CASWEB, IN-FUSE, UKBorders, StreetView, Neighbourhood Statistics, NOMIS) that will help in both your dissertation and career development.

Relating concepts of resilience and emerging agendas around energy and spatial inequality provides opportunities for transferring ideas to different contexts.