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Changing faces, shaping places - How has our local area been shaped by migration?

Changing faces, shaping places

Key questions

  • How might migrant groups change the local area?
  • What evidence is there to show how migrant groups have changed the local area?
  • How might this change over time?

Key concepts

  • Cultural understanding and diversity
  • Human Processes
  • Interdependence

How might migrant groups change the local area?

This section illustrates the ways that migration has influenced the UK economically and socially. Since 2004, migration from the new member states of the EU has been one of the most important trends shaping the UK today. In addition, in recent years, and for the first time since records began in the 1970s, immigrants from outside the Commonwealth and Europe have made up the largest group of new arrivals. While immigration to Britain in the past has been overwhelmingly the story of just a small number of nations, recent immigrants have also come from a much wider range of countries. The numbers of people born in regions such as the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and South America have increased sharply, while the numbers of people born in the Caribbean or Ireland (traditionally key immigrant groups) have actually fallen. The BBC's Born Abroad pages provide further details of diversity and immigration in the UK and a case study of Wembley.





What might change?

Have a go at the interactive activity which will get you thinking about how migration might have an effect on your local area.

  • What aspects of a community might be affected?
  • What might migrants bring to a local area?



There are two options for the main activity for this lesson. One involves a fieldwork investigation, the other involves secondary research. Ask your teacher which one you will be doing.

Option one

Our local area

This is a fieldwork-based investigation to study the influence of migration and different migrant groups on your local area.

You will need to download the fieldwork booklet to complete while you are out.

There are four activities for you to complete:

  • You will take a series of photographs which show aspects of both British and migrant cultures in your local area. Particularly good would be examples of where different cultures have mixed, for example restaurants with signs and menus in more than one language
  • You will then use a GOAD map which your teacher will provide to study the shops and services in your local area in more detail. A GOAD map shows the outlines of all the buildings, and you will shade these according to whether you think the shops and services have been influenced by migration
  • Next, you will carry out a participant observation study of the area. For this, you will spend five minutes observing people, behaviour and activities and record your observations in a table. You will also record the different types of people you see during this time
  • Finally, you will look at how inclusive your local area is. You will consider which groups of people it caters for and whether you think there are any groups that might not feel comfortable or have anything to do in the area

When you have completed these tasks, discuss your findings with the rest of the class.

  • What aspects of your local area have been affected and changed by migration?
  • How does your local area change over time as a result of migration?
  • Which different migrant populations are represented in the land use of the area?
  • Is there any more that could be done to cater for the needs of different migrant populations?

Option two

Change over time

This is a classroom based activity which uses secondary data sources to study how a local area has changed over time as a result of migration.

You will either be looking at your own local area, or using the sample materials which relate to Kingsbury in the London Borough of Brent, in the suburbs of north west London.

Ask your teacher which you will be doing.

If you are using the example of Kingsbury, you will need to download the change over time presentation and worksheet.

You might like to find out more about the town of Kingsbury, and why it is interesting to study migration in this area, by visiting the Wikipedia website or the Route 79 website.



Geographical futures

In small groups, discuss how you think your local area might change in the future as a result of migration.

  • How might patterns of migration change?
  • What impact might this have on land use, activities, shops and services in your local area?

Download the geographical futures PowerPoint slide for some ideas to get you started.

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