Year 10 HMSG Geographers explore Newport, a ‘smart and connected’ city

March 16, 2015

Recently Year 10 Geographers ventured to Newport to explore urban structure and change.  Pupils studied an urban transect through Newport, starting in the north-east at Langstone Business Park and finishing at Tredegar House and its surrounding industrial zones and business parks in the south-west.  Pupils considered the importance of motorway connections and pressures on greenfield site developments.

Two housing areas were also investigated and surveyed, pupils gathered data on housing and environmental quality, and considered the importance of re-using brownfield sites as part of a sustainable future for the city.


In the afternoon our focus shifted to Newport’s rapidly changing central business district & inner city areas which experienced economic and environmental decline between the 1970s and 1990s.  Pupils explored current issues, in particular, the numerous urban regeneration projects designed to re-use vacant and derelict land and create new business, housing and job opportunities.  Newport is now marketing itself as a ‘smart and connected city.’  Referring to its excellent communication links and growing university sector.  Pupils considered the importance of this re-branding of the city by investigating the new South Wales University City Centre Campus and office develop opposite Newport’s train station.

Newport faces stiff competition from the surrounding cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol, but is also having to compete on a number of levels for investment and jobs with the rest of the UK, Europe and even globally.  Recent successes include offices for the Admiral Insurance Company and GoCompare.

Pupils undertook a number of activities in the city centre including a land-use survey of the main shopping street and a visitor questionnaire.  Pupils noted the growing problem of vacant shops along Newport’s High Street.  Recent losses include M&S, Next and Top Shop.  This is a growing phenomenon around the UK with increased competition from out-of-town retail parks and online shopping.  The current building work of the new multi-million pound Friar’s Walk Indoor Shopping Centre development was inspected by students before we departed.  It is due to be completed by autumn 2015.  The city council hopes that this project will halt the decline of the High Street.

Mr N Meek
Head of Geography

Pupil comments

“Throughout the day I learnt a great deal about the geography and land-use change of Newport.  It was a very interesting trip and it helped me learn many new and important skills.”

“We learnt a lot about the ‘new’ Newport and the trip really changed our view of the city.”

“It was great to learn about geography so close to home, it showed us the relevance of what we are learning in the classroom first hand.  A really enjoyable day.”

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