* Land use in Covent Garden is characterised by commercial retail and office functions. We will be looking at how buildings are used vertically what functions are present on each floor of every building. This will help us distinguish fact from fiction about land use in Covent Garden
* It is possible to identify distinct vertical land use zones in Covent Garden. How easy is it to tell how levels are being used in Covent Garden?
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* The CBD suffers high levels of traffic congestion. This can be investigated by doing a traffic survey. We will monitor traffic on different streets for 10 minutes each and the record the information and compare it to other streets.
* The CBD is the most accessible part of the city. This is shown by high pedestrian densities. Like the traffic survey people counts will help us judge how densely populated Covent Garden really is with pedestrians.
Background / History of Covent Garden:
In the 1630s land formerly owned by Westminster Abbey was redeveloped by the 4th Earl of Bedford. He commissioned Architect Inigo Jones to design a piazza (a square). The piazza was designed with arcaded houses to the north and east (These are now all gone). This piazza was a public one. But this approach lead to its social downfall. The distinguished people who occupied the houses around the square soon began to get agitated by the lack of privacy. This set off the trend of people leaving Covent Garden. The Covent Garden began in a very small way in 1649 but expanded quite a lot when the Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed other markets in the City. In the 1760s, the market occupied much of the piazza. The market, the nearby theatres in Drury Lane and Bow Street and the many public houses, Covent Garden acquired an extremely dubious reputation, though it was still popular.
Soon the market began to dominate the piazza. The main building in the piazza which is seen today was erected in 1830 by Charles Fowler, but at the time did not then have a glass roof - that came in the 1870s. The first part of the Flower Market was put up in 1872 - it is now used by the London Transport Museum and the National Theatre Museum. By this time Covent Garden market had become the principal fruit & veg market of the country. Even before World War II, it was becoming evident that the market had to move from this very congested area of London. A long time after the war, a decision was made to move the market to Nine Elms. It was relocated there in 1973, leaving empty market buildings and many vacant premises. It is called the New Covent Garden Market but many people want the name to be changed to Nine Elms Market.
One of the proposed redevelopment plans was to knock it all down and build a brand new metropolis of through highways, hotels and conference centres. There was a major barrier in this though, the residents of Covent Garden and the general public. Instead the market was transformed into a very popular shopping centre.
Covent Garden has been associated with theatres for a very long time, the longest established being The Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. Covent Garden wasn't always just a market and theatrical home, it was at one time thriving with coachmakers (especially in Long Acre), there have been lots of famous publishers and printers, notably Odhams Press. Sainsbury's began in Drury Lane. Moss Bros. began on the site of Tesco in Bedford Street, Moss Bros. are still located in Covent Garden. Samuel French, (Theatrical publishers) began in Wellington Street. Sotheby's, the auctioneers began in the same road. Also Covent Garden was the birthplace of Punch & Judy.
Covent Garden has Protected Lands which are the Central Market, 25-31 James Street, 7, 9, 10 Floral Street, Bedford Chambers and Cubitts Yard and the Museum Blocks.
The market itself has a very interesting history, it started life as a small market trying to balance out the lack of markets after the Great Fire but became the busiest fruit, vegetable and flower market of possibly the whole nation. Every morning at 4am market workers and retailers arrived to buy and sell their stocks in bulk. This continued for a long time and in the end the decision was made to move the market to Nine Elms to ease the pressure on the area put forward by the early morning congestion. Space was also fast running out is Covent Garden as it was continuously getting more and more popular with retailers and tourists alike.
Background to Urban Geography
Land use in a city varies from place to place, in one part of the city land use could purely be for housing and in another it could purely be for offices and commercial use. Many geographers make models and concentric diagrams; one of the most widely used is Burgess' Model. Burgess' Model has five zones;
I. CBD - Central Business District
II. Zone of Transition
III. Low Class Residential
IV. Medium Class Residential
V. High Class Residential
Another land use model is the Hoyt Model which shows how cities are laid out. Hoyt's model also has five zones with the same names but is set out differently:
There are other ways of showing how land is used in a city one being transect maps, these are diagrams showing land usage across from one end of the city to the other, with the CBD in the middle.
Land values also mean a lot and these are shown with Bid-Rent curves;
Remember. This is just a sample.
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