Draw on modern theories of rent and urban economics to analyse and explain the patterns in office rents shown in the data sources below.
- Colliers UK Office Rent Map plus Central London data. (Note the latter is given only for the rental figures, you do not have to use the take-up etc data.)
- REE Coursework Town Data.xls which has figures on city sizes, rateable values and floorspace.
The original Colliers documents are in Moodle. There is a (not terribly helpful) interactive version of the map at http://www.colliers.com/en-gb/uk/insights/offices-rents-map.
Beyond the information provided, you might also like to look at the distances and travel times between locations which can be easily found from Google maps etc. And you can use any other relevant sources of data you choose.
There is no one “required” answer to this question. It covers several different “patterns” – rents within urban cores, within city regions, across major cities or different types of city. Your answer should touch on all of them, but might concentrate on one or two of them.
You are expected to use the data provided, though you don’t have to use all of it. Note that the question asks for an analysis. This means more than an essay with a few numbers dropped here and there in the text: you are expected to construct your own charts, tables to demonstrate your points.
It would be possible to answer the question with a lot of statistics and modelling. But a statistical approach is not required: do it that way if you are comfortable with statistics, if you are not you need more than clear charts and tables, perhaps extending to a bit of correlation.
A good answer to the question will demonstrate that you understand the relevant theories (note the “modern theories” – it does not need a large chunk of Ricardo, von Thunen etc to get started), and then test how far they are supported by the data. So you could structure the essay as a section on the relevant theory followed by a separate section for patterns in the data. Or you could have a section for each pattern putting the theory and data together. Either way is OK.
You will need to understand a bit of UK geography. The country is divided into a set of “standard regions” as shown on the regional map at the end. These are not the economic “city regions” – a dominant central city with surrounding commuter zones and satellites extending up to a radius of 20-20 miles – we discuss in the course. In Scotland, for example, Glasgow and Edinburgh are two separate major cities quite close together, with only minor centres in the rest of the country. Manchester and Leeds may look close enough to be part of the same “regional” system, but in fact the North West is divided from Yorkshire and Humberside by the Pennine mountain range. (Alright, they’re hills but you don’t want to be up there in a February blizzard.)
For office market analysis, the country is usually divided into a set of dominant cities each with a surrounding region running out 20-40 miles. They are London plus the major provincial cities Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh (the “Big Six”), to which some would add Sheffield, Newcastle, Cardiff, Liverpool. Note this leaves some areas – the East Midlands, East Anglia – without a dominant central city, and instead several cities of roughly equal size. You could use either or both of the Primary Urban Areas or Metropolitan County Areas indicated in the spreadsheet to roughly measure city regions.
- The rent differences between locations are not the result of current vacancies or other demand-supply indicators. The differences between, say, West End and Reading, or Manchester and Belfast are enduring gaps. Rental levels in each location may fluctuate around their levels with current market conditions, but the gaps are permanent.
- Your essay is about permanent gaps, not current movements, so do not fill it up with market chatter about current conditions from agents’ market reports.
- Do not say “London is the CBD for the whole country, so rents fall with distance from London”. It just isn’t, so they don’t.
Note this will apply to all assignments I set.
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“By submitting this work, I declare that this work is entirely my own except those parts duly identified and referenced in my submission. It complies with any specified word limits and the requirements and regulations detailed in the coursework instructions and any other relevant programme and module documentation. In submitting this work I acknowledge that I have read and understood the regulations and code regarding academic misconduct, including that relating to plagiarism, as specified in the Programme Handbook. I also acknowledge that this work will be subject to a variety of checks for academic misconduct.”
What is meant by plagiarism, and how to avoid it, is spelt out at here.
Note that it includes copying from classmates, and also excessive “sharing” of essay plans, essay text, data analysis, charts and tables. While discussing assignments, trying out ideas with other students is a useful part of the learning experience, producing courseworks written to a common plan or with over-similar content is not acceptable.
To avoid this happening, your submissions for this coursework will be run through Turnitin. All essays with clearly matching content will be penalised, without enquiry into who “copied” from whom.