London Docklands Coursework

Studying at University of East London

The University of East London has two campuses with plans to open an additional in the near future. The university has more than 130 programmes on offer to the 28,000 students that call UEL their home. The Stratford Campus plays host to the Schools of Education, Sport and Psychology. The larger campus in Docklands is where students of the Arts, Business, Architecture, Law and Social Sciences are mainly based.

The Students' Union (UELSU) runs the social scene on campus with plenty of parties, karaoke nights, guest DJs and places to chill out and have a drink and a game of pool with mates. The Students' Union is host to many sports clubs and societies and has a range of volunteering opportunities that include growing food, helping the elderly, working with animals, fundraising for charities and community clean-up days.

The University of East London invested greatly in the London 2012 Olympics and aims to be the best London university for sport by 2015 with the development of various programmes and facilities which has recently included the new sports centre, SportsDock' on the Docklands Campus. Facilities in SportsDock include two sports arenas, two basketball courts, cricket bays, five-a-side pitches, ten badminton courts, a gym and a café. Other facilities included in the £170 million investment are 24/7 libraries and IT facilities, accommodation and new buildings, one of which is home to the Cass School of Education and Communities.

The university is well situated to transport links for those that want to venture from campus to areas such as Brick Lane, the West End, Soho and famous shopping centres including Westfield and Bluewater. For those who want to stay put, the campuses provide cafés, shops, a laundrette, chaplaincy, childcare facilities, restaurants and several places to chill out with friends.

For those with a desire to start up on their own there are plenty of avenues to explore within the university's entrepreneurship offering such as modules and volunteering in your chosen area, joining the Entrepreneurship Society which has input from the Employability and Enterprise office, pitching your business ideas to a team to win as much as £30,000 investment and making use of the Knowledge Dock which offers advice, personal space for setting up your business and development of your skills. Additionally the Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship can give students access to industry and state of the art facilities and training.


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The question in this exercise is a typical Standard Grade question based on a newspaper article. You may get a similar type of question in your exam.

Read this newspaper article.

30 years ago the words urban redevelopment usually meant bulldozing large areas of run-down inner city areas to build new industrial and residential areas. City councils often bid for money from the UK government or the European Union. "Enterprise Zones" were set up, giving tax and rate-free incentives. Almost 30 inner city areas in the UK were redeveloped, including London's Docklands.

James Wilkinson, a representative from the London Docklands Development Corporation asserted:

"There may have been a few problems because of the recession in the early 1990's, but the development has been a success. Derelict areas have been transformed with new developments. Many newspaper companies have moved out from crowded parts of Central London. New housing and jobs have been created. Transport links have been greatly improved with the new City Airport, Docklands Light Railway and new roads."

But today these multi-million pound schemes are less popular - why should this be? Ann Seacombe, a resident from the Isle of Dogs commented:

"Almost nothing has happened for us, the local people. We were told that there would be new homes and jobs, but not for us. Less than 1,000 new council homes have been built - but there are over 25,000 new private flats and houses. Most of the jobs are for skilled people working for big companies - other jobs are low paid, working in restaurants or shops. Our needs should have been considered more."

Today money is more likely to be spent in improving and modernising buildings in cities. Birmingham is a good example of this new type of urban renewal. Money has been given to renovate whole streets - over 10,000 houses so far. Smaller developments have included creating an 'urban village' to the east of the city centre with 500 new and renovated homes, parks and amenities. Bollards and other traffic calming measures enable children to play safely once more.

Now have a look at these typical exam questions in response to such an article.


1. What is urban renewal?

Question 1 is checking that you understand the term urban renewal and can give a clear definition of what it means.


Urban renewal is the change, taking place in urban areas by replacing or improving existing buildings and amenities like streets, parks.

You will need to have your own case study for your exam.


2. How has urban renewal changed over the past 30 years?

Question 2 involves writing a short summary of how an area has changed over the past 30 years - what differences have occurred?


30 years ago most urban renewal involved knocking down existing buildings - urban redevelopment - and replacing them with new ones. Today older buildings are often improved or renovated, not demolished. This means local people can continue living in the area.


3. Why were local people in London's Docklands dissatisfied with the changes?

Questions 3 and 4 look at actual examples of urban renewal, asking you to explain different reactions to the changes.


Local people wanted jobs and affordable housing. The new developments in the Docklands created expensive houses and jobs for those with high qualifications. In some cases, these people had to move elsewhere.


4. Why might people living in Birmingham be more pleased with the changes there?

When answering questions like these, read the article very carefully, perhaps 2 or 3 times before you begin writing. Make sure you are prepared for vocabulary linked to cities and urban renewal such as: residential, prestigious and renovate.


People in Birmingham were happier with the improvements because their houses were improved, not knocked down, and improved amenities like parks were provided for them.

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