About 6 months ago I did a bit of work for the conference which became colloquially known as the ‘Two Tonys’ conference – it was a bit of a jamboree held at the Royal Geographical Society to celebrate the long and illustrious careers of Tony Champion and Tony Fielding – if you’re interested the conference website is here. If you’re totally mental, then you can actually listen to my whole presentation on that site, although I really wouldn’t recommend it!

Anyway, for some reason I totally forgot to post the pretty little maps I produced for my presentation, so here they are now…

For those of you who are not down with some of the trickery us geographers get up to when amusing ourselves on dark, lonely, winters evenings, these little blighters are called CARTOGRAMS. Yes, that’s CART-O-GRAM-Z. They’re made by force-feeding digital boundaries, foie-gras style, until those that have been really bad are totally bloated and ready to burst, and those that have been even more bad are neglected and become shrivelled shadows of their former selves (good boundaries are left relatively physically unscathed by this process, but are often mentally anguished at the treatment of their peers).

But why do us sadistic geographers from time-to-time subject these poor boundaries to such inhumane treatment? No, we’re not all closet feeders – it’s actually a pretty nice way to deal with the distorting effects of area size when presenting data for discrete geographical zones. Very often the interesting stuff happening in London, for example, gets lost as London Boroughs are very much smaller than other local authorities in the UK – cartograms help counteract this visual trickery a little bit.

So, after skillfully dodging boundary-rights activists (yes, an occupational hazard for us geographers) and subjecting a selection of local authority areas to some inhumane treatment, here are the results:

Firstly, those who have a holiday home second address are disproportionately located in rich London boroughs (City of London, Kensington and Chelsea)


And where do the stinking rich go on holiday…? Here:

DjHolHomeRate1Yes, they all go swanning off to the coast – very nice I’m sure! Well, that is apart from those who go on holiday in the City of London. Yes, I’ve heard it’s really nice there and nothing at all to do with council tax dodging or anything like that.

What? You mean to say that there might be people in England and Wales who take advantage of the generous 50% discount given on second homes by some local authorities who might not be telling the whole truth about what constitutes their second home? That, for example, someone living in a small pied-à-terre in the City of London a couple of days a week (with low council tax) might be trying to fob off their massive country pad (with high council tax) as their second home? Surely no upstanding City employee would be so deceitful? Well, the data might suggest otherwise!

Some of this ‘creative’ home ownership may also be evident in the location of second homes for work:


Well all of this England and Wales holiday home talk is very nice, but what about the serious loads-a-money’s who don’t want to take a chance with the dodgy British weather – where do they all live?



Oh yeah, of course, they all live in London – duh!

So what can we conclude from all of these lovely maps? Well,

• London is the driver of second address activity in England and Wales
• Richest boroughs (City, Kens/Chelsea, Westm, Ham/Ful) are both:
–main address for people with holiday home second addresses elsewhere
–and second address work locations for people with a main address elsewhere in the country
• Home counties dwellers very unlikely to have second home work address elsewhere
• South-West and Wales most popular locations for holiday homes and main home owners with second address elsewhere
• The system appears to be driven by those living (either mainly or partially) in wealthy central London boroughs
• The release of interaction data (Q3 2013?) and small area statistics (Q1-3 2013?) will allow for more detailed analysis:
   –Which small areas experience highest rates of multiple address dwelling and what are    the socio-economic impacts?
   –What are the socio-economic characteristics of those who own holiday homes / second work addresses?
   –What are the flow patterns associated with second addresses? Not just second home owners, but split family relations and detailed student mobility patterns
** No area boundaries were harmed in the making of this blog post **