Geography Coursework – Merry Hill

Course Work Aims: The aim of my course work is to investigate if three shopping centres in the west midlands can be placed into shopping hierarchies.
Hypothesis: My hypothesis is that
* Merry hill will have a bigger sphere of influence than Kidderminster and Dudley

* Merry hill will have a better environment than Kidderminster and Dudley
* Merry hill will have more comparison shops than Kidderminster and Dudley
Justification of hypothesis: I predict that the settlements will fit in the following hierarchy.
First Prediction: People will travel farther – I predict that Merry Hill will be at the top of the hierarchy because it is more accessible (roads, bus routes, railway links and motorway), it contains better facilities (shops, restaurants, car parks), it will also have high order goods. As Merry Hill contains all of the following, it will be at the top of the hierarchy.
I predict that Dudley will be at the bottom of the hierarchy because it is less accessible than Merry Hill and Kidderminster, it has low quality facilities compared to Merry Hill and Kidderminster and it mainly supplies low order goods.
To prove this I will collect car registrations and shopper surveys.
Second prediction: Environment Quality – I predict that Merry Hill will have the highest quality of environment because it is undercover, there is no litter and it has good air conditioning, weather doesn’t affect the shoppers, there are lots of bins, greenery all around the car park, CCTV, guards and cleaners o clean up the area so everything is very hygienic.
I predict that the environment with the lowest environmental quality will be Dudley because there isn’t any cover as it is outdoors, litter everywhere, no air conditioning, and no bins, not a lot of greenery, no CCTV and no guards.
To prove this I will carry out an environmental survey.
Third Prediction: Tourists and Comparison Shops – I predict that Merry Hill will have the most tourists and comparison shops because the large number of shops means that there will be a wider range of shops to compare and also as most shops sell high order goods, they are well known and this will help attract tourists.
I predict that Dudley will have few comparison and convenience stores because it’s a small shopping centre, which means that there will be fewer shops meaning you will have less shops to compare.
To prove this I will carry out a shop survey, listing all the shops each settlement consists of.
Geographical Information:
Shopping habits have changed due to the new technology and, the higher prices of products having been introduced, meaning more and more people are likely to compare prices in different shops before buying anything, whereas before all prices were rather similar. More shops have also been introduced, which has also caused shopping habits to change.
In the future shopping hierarchies may have totally changed. There is a possibility that the smaller shopping centres may slowly start to increase moving higher in the hierarchy. Also larger shopping centres may slowly deteriorate especially as there are so many shops all around that are closing down.
The advantages of out of town shopping centres are:
* Firstly, the shopping centres have a lot of comparison shops, so shoppers can buy the cheapest product.
* As there are more shops in one area shoppers have a larger variety of products to choose from, so there are bound to be a larger number of comparison shops.
* Another advantage of having an out of town shopping centre is that people are likely to go there and it increases tourism.
The disadvantages of out of town shopping centre:
* Firstly out of town shopping centres increase traffic jams as there is an increasing of traffic
* Out of town shopping centres increase the level of noise pollution on the road
* Next out of town shopping centres allow more congestion on the road
* Lastly, out of town shopping centres increase pollution on a whole and also contribute majorly to global warming
Methods of data collection:
Data was collected over a period of two days. On the first day, we visited Kidderminster (Old and New). On the second day we visited Merry Hill and Dudley. We worked in a group of three or more because then we would be able to get other people’s opinions and so we can collect data faster, before time runs out.
Primary Data:
We recorded 50 car registrations for each area to work out how far people had travelled to come to these shopping centres. This data was collected in order to work out where the cars had been registered to give us some idea as to the sphere of influence of each settlement. At each location we completed 5 environmental surveys to access the quality of the environment. This was done by scoring the environment on a number of indi9cators on a sliding scale from (o-5), with 0 being poor and 5 being excellent.
The surveys were taken at roughly equal spacing in each settlement and marked clearly on the map. The scores were our own personal feeling of the environment and may have been skewed by bad weather conditions and time of day i.e. rush hour. We listed all of the shops recording if they were comparison or convenience shops. We collected this data because it gave us an idea of whether the shops were mainly sold high or low order goods and it helped show us the sphere of influence of the location.
Secondary Data:
To support my primary data I collected background information for each settlement from the internet, I looked at bus routes for each settlement which would show the accessibility of the areas, I looked at maps of each area o show the size of each area and I collected data on the history of each settlement.

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