Cats are the top dogs when it comes to pet ownership in the city

cat lying down-2We may be a nation of dog lovers but Londoners, it appears, prefer cats.

A survey of pet ownership by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association found that 23% of households in the UK owned a dog and 17% a cat. In London cats win the pet rivalry contest with 13% of households compared to 10% that have a dog.

Pet ownership

The PFMA carry out the survey every year. This year they spoke to 8,323 people, 1291 of them in London.  London has the lowest proportion of pet ownership of any region of the UK, likley due to the lifestyle of the urban population and the lack of gardens for many.

Ownership level of some animials in the London sample group were too samll to be quantified and therefore are registered as zero. This does not suggest that nobody in London owns a hamster or a caged bird.

London came closest to the national average in keeping fish. Nationally 8% of households have a fish tank indoors compared to 6% in London, according to the survey. And 3% of London households have a pond in the garden compared to 5% nationally.

According to the PFMA there are 58 million pets in the UK. That’s nearly as many as there are people. 46% of households have a pet.

The nation’s dog lovers live in Northern Ireland, where 41% of households have a dog, followed by 37% in the North East of England. The East of England and the South West are the country’s leading lovers of cats.

See also

Rise in dog thefts hits outer boroughs hardest

Barking not worst for bites


Thirst for craft beers drives an increase in breweries

beerBrewing is booming in London perhaps driven by the current craze for craft beers.

The number of breweries in London has gone up from 45 in 2013 to 76 in 2015. Nearly 90,000 people in the city are now employed in the brewing and pubs sector out of 870,000 across the UK, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. 46% of the people working in the industry are under 24.

While big landmark breweries like Young’s historic Ram Brewery in Wandsworth have closed the expansion in the industry appears to be driven by micro breweries, many of them catering for the growing popularity of craft beers.

But while brewery numbers are increasing pub numbers are falling, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. This year to June 411 pubs closed in London and the South East while 145 new premises opened their doors, a net loss of 266.

This means that many of the new brewers will be looking wider than the pub trade to sell their beer, with some doing deals directly with retailers while other take their sales online.

Source data

See also

London losing its thirst for binge drinking

Londoners like Uber but think black cabs will stay if payment made easier

Black cabsThe drawing of battle lines between traditional taxi services like London’s black cabs and app-based services such as Uber is a current trend in most big cities.

It is perhaps an even more vexed issue in a place like London where the cab fleet is part of the cityscape and despite their grumbles Londoners tend to value the safe and knowledgeable service they offer. But like most big urban populations, Londoners also like Uber. According to the company the usage rate in London is multiplying by 5 or 6 times a year.

For many of the 22,000 licensed cab drivers this is seen as a battle to save their livelihood. But a survey by the polling organisation You Gov of attitudes to the traditional and the new in London’s car hire trade suggests that there may be room and appetite for both.

A sample of 1,000 Londoners was asked if services like Uber were good for them. 55% agreed and just 16% disagreed. Approval was much higher in those under the age of 40, and even in the over 60s more agreed than disagreed, though the margin was close.

Uber Survey Good

Men were keener on Uber than women, but more than half the women asked agreed that such services were good for Londoners.

But it’s not all bad news for the traditional service. Asked it they thought that black cabs would no longer be around in 20 years time 30 % agreed but 42% disagreed. So more people still want to see black cabs on the city’s streets, but would they continue to use them?

Uber survey black cabs

A clue to that is in the survey’s the third question. People were asked if paying for cabs should be made easier with contactless payments. A resounding 75% said yes and only 5% disagreed.

Uber survey payment

TfL has just completed a public consultation on whether accepting card payment and contactless should be made compulsory for black cabs. Currently about half of them take card payment. The results of the consultation are yet to be published.

The message from the survey, which was commissioned by PR company PLMR, appears to be that Londoners are prepared to use all types of cab hires, but above all they want them to be easy to use.

The lessons for London from other cities in the US where the Uber economy is much more progressed are not clearcut.  A study earlier this year that looked at small business expense accounts showed a steep rise in Uber use in place of traditional taxis by business travellers.

Uber’s own stats for San Francisco show that it may be disruptive not just for the cab trade but change the face of urban transport. In its most mature market it is more than three times bigger than the previous taxi market in terms of revenues. In other words, it has found a new market, most likley people who would otherwise have driven themselves.

The long-term trend in car ownership in London is down, particularly in inner boroughs, where car density is half that of outer areas, as reported by Urbs.  So Uber’s growth may be not just an issue for cab drivers in future but also for car sales people in the capital.

Source data

See also

Car ownership reveals a tale of 2 Londons

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Museums much searched on Google are found by millions from overseas, says survey

Science Museum

London’s Science Museum…much searched, often found

Measuring popularity by the number of Google searches has become a pretty regular metric. A quick glance at Google Trends top chart will tell you that Pharrell Williams is more popular than Benedict Cumberbatch, more of us want to make chocolate cake than carrot cake, and the thing we most want to know how to do is to draw.

The latest top 5 in the Google league tells us that museums and galleries in London are the most searched in the world. According to London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company, the Google museum search list has London institutions at 1,2, and 3.

  1. Science Museum, London
  2. Natural History Museum, London
  3. British Museum, London
  4. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  5. Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC

London and Partners caution that Google’s methodology means that the results may vary day to day and the Science Museum comes top “on average”.

Perhaps more telling therefore is not how many people search the museum name on Google but how many people come to visit.

According to London and Partners a visitor survey conducted through 15,000 face to face interviews at 13 museums and galleries by research company Morris Hargreaves McIntyre concluded that they received 17.9 million overseas visitors in 2014 and 2015 out of a total visitor number of 31.5 million. That’s 57% of visitors, and an increase of 19% over the past 4 years.

French and American tourists were the most frequent, in line with figures for London visitor numbers, as reported by Urbs. Along with people from Italy, Spain and Germany they accounted for 9.7 million of the 17.9 million overseas museum visitors, according to the survey.

Source data

See also

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

French biggest group of visitors but Americans spend most

London ranked as top global city destination

Where the arts-loving Londoners live – not in Newham







How “Millennials” are driving an urban renaissance

listening to music on street-2Young, single, well-educated, well-paid professionals, part of the so-called Generation Y, are driving the resurgence in city centre populations across England and Wales. And while the growth in this group has been slower in London due to the struggle with property prices the heart of the capital has seen an increase by a third in people in their 20s over 10 years.

The growth of city centres is revealed in a study by the research institute the Centre for Cities that looked at 59 cities, including London. While the capital shares many of the findings for other large cities its economy and jobs market mean it has some unique characteristics

City centre residents tend to be better educated and more likely to be managers or senior professionals than those living in the suburbs or the commuter hinterland around a city. This is particularly the case in London. While 37% of city centre dwellers have a university degree in London it is 50%. And two thirds of London’s city centre residents are senior managers, compared to around half in other large cities.

The study says that the “urban renaissance” is being driven by people who want to live near to the amenities that city centre living offers such as being in walking distance to work, cultural attractions and surrounded by other young professionals. But they have to pay a premium to live there.

In the centre of London the high cost of property is acting as a block on the millennial generation. As a result, unlike other cities, it has a similar number of people in the 30-44 age bracket as 20-29. But it is the younger group that has seen the biggest growth.

London’s City Centre Population
Age 0-19 20-29 30-44 45-64 65+ Total
Population 2001 51,338 58,767 67,524 46,012 27,697 251,338
Population 2011 54,660 78,473 78,606 55,782 27,387 294,908
% Change 6.4 33.5 16.4 21.2 -1.1 17.3
cent city-2
Map courtesy of Centre for Cities

The study defined the city centre of London as the area within a 2-mile radius of Holborn and used the census data on small neighbourhoods within boroughs inside this area. (see map)

The study says that the high cost of property within this area has led to a spill over of young professionals into the surrounding suburbs in a way not seen in other cities.

Home ownership is lower in all city centres than suburban areas and the availabily of social housing in the defined area of central London makes social rental a common option.

Most city centre residents live in flats not houses. This is the case for 75% of people in city centres nationally, but 90% in London, according to the study.

London also has a higher proportion of residents born outside the UK than other cities, 45% compared to 35% elsewhere.

Car use, or the lack of it, is the other thing that sets London apart. Cars are used by fewer than a quarter of people for journeys to work in city centres but by only 8% of residents in the centre of London. London has greater use of public transport, bicycles and more Londoners walk to work.

See also

Urban chic or leafy charm? Inner city rentals catch up with affluent areas

More homes packed into built up inner city as growth stalls in outer areas

Jobs concentrated in just 5 of London’s 33 boroughs

Why the Mayor thinks busking should be music to our ears

2015-07-18 14.19.56-1-2For some, busking is a noisy nuisance that obstructs the pavements. For others it is an essential part of the vibrancy of London. The Mayor and the GLA are on a mission to increase busking but some boroughs seem unconvinced and it remains a contentious issue open to local rules and by-laws.

City Hall’s promotion of busking steps up a gear throughout the next few weeks with the Busk in London festival until August 8th. It kicked off on Saturday 18th July, which was National Busking Day, if you didn’t know. In the coming weeks a large number of performers will showcase their talents in high profile locations like Trafalgar Square.

But away from festival time the rules on busking and its public acceptability are complex. London has a number of ‘official’ busking pitches, though the GLA dislikes using the term official as it points out that busking is legal on any public land in the UK.

The GLA told Urbs that there are currently 70 established pitches which include 39 in the London Underground, 14 on the Southbank, 11 around Covent Garden, 4 in Hillingdon Town Centre, 1 at One New Change Shopping Centre near St Paul’s and 1 at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road.

See also

Where the arts-loving Londoners live – not in Newham

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

For buskers the problems centre on knowing when a location is on public land and whether their act is causing an obstruction or a noise nuisance, when a number of different laws may be used to move them on.

The GLA has tried to combat this by producing a Buskers’ Code to help potential performers choose a pitch and build up a good relationship with local people.

So far just 6 of the 33 boroughs have signed up – Westminster, Islington, Southwark, Hounslow, Kingston and Redbridge.

Camden, known for its music venues, has sought to restrict busking by introducing a license scheme and £1,000 fines for anyone caught busking without one.

Busking is not allowed at all in the City of London. The Corporation sites the Police & Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 as the reason why.

The GLA says it is hopes to sign up more boroughs to its code soon and is talking to Network Rail about pitches at the big main railway stations.

It estimates that about 1,000 buskers are regularly performing in London. TfL says that performers at its 39 marked pitches at 25 Tube stations provide 100,000 hours of music for commuters each year.

If the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has his way their be more music and street theatre. In launching the code of conduct and his annual Gigs busking competition for under 25s he said: ”’Busking adds to the capital’s joie de vivre, but in spite of its popularity, buskers have sometimes encountered problems when plying their trade.”

The GLA estimates that music tourism generates £600 million for the London economy each year and that live performances enhance public spaces. And if City Hall gets its way you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.


How TfL may be key to success for Apple Pay in the UK

Oyster Reader Tom Page Wikimedia commonsApple Pay arrived in the UK this week and one measure of its success will be how it performs on the London transport network.

Apple Pay allows people to use their iPhones in the same way as a contactless card by setting up payment details in an app on the device and touching it on the card reader.

London is the contactless capital of the country accounting for 38% of all transactions according to the payment services company Worldpay. Since it adopted contactless payments alongside the Oyster card across the network in September last year Transport for London has been a key driver in the rapid rise of contactless payment.

There are about 1.2 million contactless transactions on the transport network each weekday according to Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience.

Analysis of contactless usage by the UK Card Association, the trade body for the card payment industry,  in December found that TfL were the source of 11% of all contactless usage in the country. Supermarkets, coffee shops, bars and takeaways are the other big users.

Early reports on Apple Pay indicated that some people were finding it slower to open the gates on the Underground than using a credit/debit card or an Oyster.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 12.35.04-2

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 12.39.40

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TfL warned customers to make sure that their phone was charged to ensure they would be able to touch out at the end of their journey as Apple Pay will not work if the device is out of power.

Samsung and Google are looking at their own payment methods so paying by phone may soon become commonplace.

From September this year the limit on contactless transactions will increase from £20 to £30, so the relentless rise of cash free lifestyle is likely to grow, with London at the forefront of the change.

See also

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains


London has nearly 40% of male civil partnerships in England


England’s 1st civil partnership. Photo: Peter Scott-Morgan ┃Wikimedia Commons

Men who have formed a civil partnership, the legal recognition of same sex relationships, are highly concentrated in London, particularly central London. Female civil partnerships are far more evenly spread across the country.

Civil partnerships were introduced 10 years ago to give some of the same rights and responsibilities to same sex couples as those enjoyed by married couples of the opposite sex.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that from 2006 to 2013 there were more than 30,000 male civil partnerships formed in England and 38% were in London. In comparison, only 16% of 25,000 female civil partnerships were in the capital as they were spread more evenly across the country.

civil parnership chart

Male civil partnerships are highly concentrated in central London boroughs, particularly Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Islington.

civil partnership male

The same boroughs also have the highest level of female civil partnerships, but there is a slightly more even distribution across the city.

civil partnership female

The three most easterly boroughs – Barking & Dagenham, Bexley and Havering – were the only ones to see more female than male civil partnerships. Sutton had equal numbers.

A change in the law has meant same sex couples have been allowed to marry since March 2014. Many couples in civil partnerships are converting that legal relationship into a marriage.

Source data

See also

The dating data for lovelorn Londoners

Time to celebrate but there’s no pride in a rise in homophobic attacks



From centre to the suburbs: the outward drift of Londoners

High panoramaThere has been much discussion in the media recently of the so-called exodus from London. As reported by Urbs, this is not a new phenomenon. And the trend that is less noted is how Londoners move around the capital.

Data from the Office for National Statistics on the movement of children between boroughs reveals how families are moving from central London in an outward pattern that may be a precursor to a move out of the capital. At the same time new Londoners, often from overseas, are arriving in the central areas of the city.

Urbs looked at the data for 1 borough, Wandsworth, as a case study. As previously reported, Wandsworth is a baby-boom borough so we looked at the movement of 2,000 children in the 0-3 pre-school age bracket.

A clear pattern emerged with children moving in from other, mostly more central London boroughs and others moving out to more outlying areas.

Kid migration

The most common moves within London were to a neighbouring or nearby boroughs.

kid migration map

Half of all the movements out of Wandsworth were within London. The other half performed an exodus with the South East region proving the most popular destination.

kid migration national

So while the London exodus may be a familiar idea, a more complex pattern may be emerging of the spiral out from the centre that often fuels it.

Source data

See also

Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?

A London exodus? But wait, isn’t the population growing?


Hotter than July? Data on how hot it should be at this time of year

Wikimania_2014_-_0803_-_Hyde_Park_-_The_Serpentine220917 Rainer Halama

The Serpentine, Hyde Park: © Rainer Halama ┃Creative Commons

London recorded the hottest July day on record today with the temperature climbing above 36 degrees at the weather station at Heathrow. As passengers on Tubes and buses suffered in the heat it was certainly, in the words of Stevie Wonder, hotter than July, or at least hotter than July usually is in the capital.

But what does one day tell us about summer temperatures and what is normal for July? At Urbs we turned our attention to weather data to find out. We looked at Met Office data for London for the month of July stretching back to 1948 and we found some interesting patterns.

Average July maximum temperature varied from below 20 degrees in 1954, 1965 and 1980, to over 27 degrees in 1986, 2006 and 2013.  2013 and 2014 was only the second time in the record when the average temperature was over 25 degrees for two consecutive years.

weather July average

The temperatures were recorded at the Met Office weather station at Heathrow Airport, the only one in London with openly available historic data.

Taking a 10-year rolling average gave a longer view on what’s happening to summer temperatures. The average maximum July temperature fell by almost a degree from 22.3 in the 1950s to 21.4 in the 1960s. It then rose steadily to reach 23.5 by the 1990s and has stayed around that level since.

weather july 10 year rolliing

The forecast says it will be about 10 degree cooler in a week’s time and with Wimbledon running later this year July is likley to have a fair share of rain. But today’s scorcher and the expected continuing heat of the next few days may mean those 2 consecutive years of plus 25 degrees will soon be 3.

Source data

See also

Bombed in 1940 and other lesser-know facts about Wimbledon

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