London’s demographic metabolism: using computational social science methods to map mobility in populations and places

Buyuklieva, B. (2022) Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London) [ONS LS]

Other information:

Increasingly cities struggle to match the needs of their populations across the full spectrum of the lifecourse due to housing stress. Quantifying the spatio-temporal links between populations and the places they reside in creates an understanding that is important for aligning environmental realities to individual and group life strategies, which in turn benefits population well-being. In this research, I develop Demographic Metabolism as a paradigm that frames populations as a 'resource' in order to quantify socio-spatial processes. An underpinning assumption of this framework is that current and anticipated characteristics of places are formed by population-level residential decisions, which emerge as individuals move through their lives. Taking London as its focus, this research examines patterns and effects of migration at the local scale in England and Wales across several decades. I situate the scholarship on residential mobility and housing before examining changes in time and space with robust, data-driven approaches that consider replicability and data literacy. Using the ONS Longitudinal Study and supplementary data, I show how London's Demographic Metabolism is unusual compared to its immediate hinterland through sprawling mobility and other behavioural adaptations, which differ most markedly by housing tenure. By bridging demography, residential mobility and housing, a broader methodological contribution of the project is illustrating how computational social sciences methods can be applied to interdisciplinary research.

Available online: Doctoral thesis,
Output from project: 1012184


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