It was only a generation ago that city centres were dilapidated with going crime rates as people were leaving their cramped, urban housing for more spacious suburbs. Now, they have returned to being some of the most desirable places in the country to live.
In northern cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, it is a common sight to see new high rise apartments being built around every corner. At street level bars, cafes, restaurants and gyms are also being opened to service the often young and affluent clientele.
This reversal that has taken place demonstrates a dramatic urban renaissance and a shift in what people are prioritising when choosing where to live. In the last two decades, the population of many city centres has doubled in size, alongside the population of the UK increasing by 10%.
Liverpool is one of the fastest growing city centres with the population increasing by 181% between 2002 and 2015. Other major city centres that are growing rapidly include Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford.
A lot of city centre growth is due to young people moving to cities for University or work which has increased the demand for city centre developments. For example, in Liverpool, between 2001 and 2011 the student population grew by over 208%.
In big cities, over half of the people living in the centre work in high-skills professional occupations, which reflects the growing importance of sectors like financial and legal services to the UK economy. These high paid jobs then create a market for regenerated amenities, entertainment, and shops which, in turn, makes the city centre living even more appealing.
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by Steve George