Category: Fieldwork

Geographical Association Olympic Site Field Visit

Today was the prequel to the Geographical Association annual conference. As part of this I attended a field visit looking at the regeneration that is taking place in that part of East London. Below are my notes from the visit.

‘View Tube’

We began the visit at the ViewTube which is near to Pudding Mill Lane DLR station. This gives a good view across the olympic park, as illustrated by the image below. Inside the ViewTube is a classroom which can be used by schools which is organised by the field studies council.

Main Stadium – the main stadium has a capacity of 80,000 people and is complete and just being ‘wrapped’. The future of the main stadium has been decided and after the olympics it will go to West Ham; however this is currently being challenged by Tottenham in court. When the main stadium was designed it  so that after the games the majority of the metal structure housing the seating could be removed leaving an athletics stadium. This was to avoid a ‘white elephant’ like the Millenium Dome, which at the time the Olympic Stadium was being designed had been empty for five years.

Basketball Arena – The basketball arena (looks like a giant mattress); is temporary and is designed to be taken down after the games and moved to a new home.

Orbit – The orbit is a tower designed to be an attraction that will attract visitors to the area after the games. It will be 115 metres high and will have a viewing platform.

There are many waterways throughout the park. However there are flood relief measures further upstream as this area was flooded 11 years ago. During the games the waterways will not have any public access. The main waterway that borders the site is the Lea Navigation Canal which was buit 200 years ago.

Most of the heavy construction material for the olympic site was brought in by rail; the initial plan was to use the waterways but the infrastructure was not ready in time so very little material was actually brought in by boat.

The area that is currently being used to clean soil to remove any chemical residue will be a warm up area for athletes. Most of the soil has already been taken to various locations around the site to provide landscaping.

After the games it is planned that there will be 10,000 homes built on the site.

The Northern Outflow sewer that takes away sewage from London is the only structure that was not cleared from the site. This has allowed there to be a public path through the site for the duration of the construction.

The site of the Olympic Park was home to 250 businesses employing in excess of 5,000, these were all compulsary purchased in 2007.

Only one business has remained local, H. Forman , Salmon Smoking, their previous building was only five years old but it was located in the centre of what is now the main stadium. They have now moved just outside the olympic park, employing 80 people.


The onsite energy centre is a combined heat/cooling/power plant that will meet the needs of the olympic park for the next 40 years it has three boilers using three differet fueal sources, gas, biomass, and biofuel.

The only car park on the site is next to the media centre; everyone else is expected to travel by public transport. There are also two coach parks, one at either end of the olympic park. After the games it is hoped the media centre will become a hub for creative industries.

There are 1 million people living in the four olympic boroughs (the London Borough’s that border the park).

There are approximately 10,000 people working on the park, 25% of these live in the four Olympic Boroughs.

Notes from the Viewing Gallery

Our final part of the Olympic tour involved visiting Holden Point, the Olympic Park Viewing gallery located on the 22nd floor of this block of sheltered accommodation. This gave an excellent view of the olympic park and the surroundings.

The viewing gallery was built in 2005 and was used by the IOC in the prepatory visits before awarding the games to London.

The Westfield shopping centre “Stratford City”, which is going ot be the largest shopping centre in Europe was already planned when the olympic bid was awarded. This will be the largest employer after the Olympics.

The Olympic village will be home to 17,000 athletes during the games, after the games the flats will be retrofitted with kitchens. Half of the flats have already be sold to housing associations, the rest will be sold on the private market. They will be inhabited from 2013, there are over 2,300 homes. There is 10ha of open space in the Athlete’s village.

There is a new school (academy) that will serve as the canteen for the athletes during the games; after the games it will provide the school for new community and some of the existing areas.

We then paid a brief visit to the docklands to look at the large scale redevelopment that this year celebrates its 30th birthday.

I have more pictures from this visit that I will put on Flickr when I get home (currently I am writing this using 3G tethering).

Categories: Fieldwork

Sixth Form Visit to Minehead – Ideas Needed

In July I am taking a combined group of IB and A Level geographers to Minehead in North Somerset for a week.

The accommodation is booked (we are staying at the youth hostel); however the rest of the programme is currently blank.

We are traveling early Monday morning from Essex and returning Friday. I am looking for stops on the way as well as ideas for the fieldwork days.

On Monday to Thursday  this week I am doing a planning and preparatory visit so am looking for any suggestions for ideas for Geographical fieldwork in that region.

I have not been to that part of the country recently but my list of places to check out so far are:

  • Looking at the coastal resort of Minehead and sea defences
  • Taunton
  • Impact of Tourism in the National Park

The International Baccalaureate Geographers need to complete a traditional fieldwork report and the A Level Geographers need to be able to answer AQA exam 4a; the rest is to expose the students to geography ‘in the field’.

I would he grateful for any suggestions of ideas for fieldwork in that locality. I will publish the plan on this blog nearer the time.

If you have a chance please give me your ideas either via twitter @gceyre or as a comment on this post!

Thank you,


Categories: Fieldwork, Sixth Form

IB Geography Internal Assessment Titles

Last year I moderated IB (International Baccalaureate) Geography HL Internal Assessments and I have just finished recycling / destroying last years Assessments. As an external modreator these are supposed to be retained until December in case of enquiries on results however this is the first opportunity I have had to drag them out of the back of my garage.

I thought it would be useful to compile a list of titles; one of the most useful aspects of moderating is finding out what other schools are doing. Below is a list of titles; so that they are anonymous I have removed any reference to a named town or geographical feature.

  • An investigation into strategies of coastal management at x.
  • Does River X follow the Bradshaw model?
  • Has the redevelopment of x met its aims?
  • Does the environmental quality of an area improve as the pedestrian count increase?
  • Investigation into the effectiveness of the management of visitor erosion around X.
  • Is x an urban heat island?
  • A study of the psammosere development at x.
  • Does x fit the cor and frame model?
  • An investigation of the environmental quality of four different districts in x.
  • Urban decay in x.
  • The sphere of influence of x on consumer prices for refreshments.
  • To what extent does the  TCV (Tourism Centrality Value) of an area affect the number of pedestrians there.
  • Does the main tourist attraction in an areas define the distribution of pedestrians in the central part of the city.
  • How large is the sphere of influence of X?
  • An investigation into the vegetation succession in x.
  • Gentrification in x.
  • An investigation into  beach processes at x.
  • Comparison of two beaches at x.
  • Land use in x.

In addition to giving teachers ideas for IB Internal Assessment, they may also be useful for students looking for ideas for Extended Essays or Extended Projects.

I may use some of these when planning my fieldwork week in Minehead in July.

Categories: Fieldwork, IB Geography

Geography in the Wild – Dorset Fieldwork

I have just returned from a five day Geography trip to Dorset. I took a group of Lower Sixth geographers to the Townsend Centre in Swanage. We had an action packed week of fieldwork allowing the students to collect a great range of data and experience ‘geography in the wild’.

Monday – Drive from Essex to Dorset. Our afternoon was spent exploring Swanage and an introduction to the Geography of the Jurrassic coast.

Tuesday – Looking at processes on Chesil beach. We visited four different sites along the beach looking at change. This is a fantastic piece of fieldwork as it is really easy for the students to see the visible change in the beach material.

Wednesday – Visiting the town of Boscombe to look at the surf reef and the redevelopment of the sea front. This was put in contrast with the town centre of Boscombe that has not been developed at all.

Thursday – Despite the poor the weather we visited Studland and looked at the human issues surrounding the management of the dunes. We also looked at Sand Dune succession. We also walked to Old Harry.

Friday – We drove to visit Lulworth Cove and visited the Cove and Durdle Door. Following on from this we drove home back to Essex.

Visiting the Dorset coast allowed the students to see case study locations ‘in the flesh’. One student said ‘this is the first time I have got excited about geography’.

I will blog more about the trip over the next few weeks.

This was the first group that I have taken to the Townsend Centre, we had a great time and I can’t wait to go back next year!  More details about the centre can be found on their website

Categories: Fieldwork, Sixth Form Tags: Tags: ,

Birmingham A2 Fieldtrip

On Friday 18th September I took my Upper Sixth Geography group to Birmingham to look at different examples of urban redevelopment.

Below is the fieldwork booklet used for the day:

View more documents from gceyre.

Notes on Birmingham Redevelopment I Compiled. Download Here

I have also put the pictures I took on Flickr, they may be usefull to people teaching about redevelopment in Birmingham as a case study. They are here

On the return from the visit students have been asked to produce a poster critically evaluating their assigned regeneration project. Here is the guidance sheet I gave them.

(apologies if I have taken any work by anyone else and not fully credited it; I did use a variety of sources to compile this material but failed to note all sources)

Categories: Fieldwork, Geography