The State of the Cities Database was a collection of data underpinning the State of the English Cities Report, originally published in March 2006 by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The datasets represent the data that were used in the work undertaken by the Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group of Sheffield University, which was used to prepare the 2006 Reports, and as accessioned by the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets in 2009.
This series contains all the key indicators of urban performance used in the report. These key indicators were gathered for 56 cities in England. The key indicators drew upon the analytical framework and drivers of urban success developed in earlier work for the ODPM, Competitive European Cities: Where Do the Core Cities Stand? (ODPM, 2004). These were: economic diversity, skilled workforce, connectivity, innovation in firms and organisations, quality of life and strategic capacity to deliver long term development strategies. The indicators of these drivers were grouped under four broad headings: social cohesion, economic competitiveness, liveability and governance.
Data was made available at different geographical levels:
The 56 Primary Urban Areas (PUAs): PUAs were an attempt to define major cities by their physical extent rather than administrative boundaries. Main Urban Settlements were used as the basis for creating PUAs; these were defined as areas of at least 20 hectares with an associated population of at least 1,000 people and a continuous built-up area of land that contains urban structures that are within 50 metres of each other. There were 56 English PUAs in the SOCD, which were selected by setting a population threshold of 125,000 (from the 2001 Census population).
The 56 Travel To Work Areas (TTWAs): TTWAs were used to approximate City-Region boundaries (although more specific City-Region boundaries existed within SOCD for the eight Core Cities).
Core City Regions: The Core Cities Group was a network of England's major regional cities outside of London: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Tracts: Tracts were aggregations of wards covering the whole of Britain. They were created by the University of Sheffield to produce a set of areas with a similar population and with borders which remain reasonably consistent; this means that the data can be compared through time. Tracts represent standard neighbourhoods averaging 35,000 residents.
Areas of Town Centre Activity (ATCAs): The boundaries and statistics for ATCAs were created using a statistical methodology, which produced a nationally consistent method for defining boundaries around concentrations of activities typically associated with town centres.
Retail Cores: In order to capture centres in areas (such as the West End in Central London) which were regarded as retail concentrations, a trimmed down model was produced which only mapped retail activity. Retail cores nest within Areas of Town Centre Activity (an ATCA can have one or more retail cores).