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What will Chester be like in 2030? Questioning the future of a city can be difficult. It relies on statistics of the city’s current state, projected data on where we can expect the city to go, and that’s before technologies that could change the scope, not currently in the public consciousness, are considered. Imagining a city and its state ten years from now poses a complex question purely based on the hypothetical, but that’s not to say that we can’t endeavour to answer it.

According to an article by Nick Triggle on the BBC News website, the UK government pledges to end smoking in the country by no later than 2030. This is five years later than the initial promise of a smoke-free Britain by 2025, but with only 14 % of adults being smokers in 2019, eleven years away seems an ample amount of time to cut that down to 0. If the pledge is to be fulfilled, then Chester, by extension, would be a smoke-free city. The cigarette butts that currently litter every street in the city would be gone. The residents would be healthier, not just the ones who smoke (breathing in another person’s smoke is actually more harmful than smoking directly is). Could this result in the city bringing in a larger number of tourists and indeed more revenue? We’ve seen with Amsterdam that one of its biggest draws to people is the cleanliness of the city. By that token it’s reasonable to assume that it would indeed encourage more visitors. Not only would this improve the environmental aspects of the city, but financially as well. There’d be less money spent on the NHS on patients in Chester who’ve developed health problems as a result of their smoking, there’d be the possible addition of tourists visiting the city, which could allow Chester to develop even further. With Chester being so focused on its heritage and the enriching history it boasts, the cigarette butts currently plaguing the streets certainly stick out like a sore thumb. If the government pledge is to be fulfilled then Chester would certainly be in a much healthier place environmentally and financially by 2030.

Electric cars are expected to become the norm by 2030, that is according to an article on Consultancy UK. A study on 2000 UK adults by Go Ultra Low (a government/ industry funded marketing campaign) found that 69 % expect to refer to electric cars as simply ‘cars’ by the next decade. With the electric car industry on the rise and only expected to increase as time goes on, I believe it’s very likely that gasoline-powered cars will decrease exponentially. An article by CleanTechnica states that gasoline cars produce more than twice the amount of emissions that electric cars do. If we can expect more electric cars by 2030, then the emissions in Chester would naturally be less than half annually than they currently are; which further improves the environmental health of the city. We’ve seen that younger people tend to invest in newer technologies quicker and in larger numbers than those belonging to older generations. With Chester being a student city, it is very likely that there’d be a higher number of residents using electric cars than in non-student cities where the average age is higher, which could mean that the emissions in Chester may be some of the lowest in the country by 2030.

Chester unfortunately has a problem with homeless people, more specifically rough sleepers. These people often loiter around university accommodation buildings asking students for money towards ‘food’ or for spare cigarettes. According to a report done by Cheshire West and Chester on the 21st Jun 2019 the number of rough sleepers identified in May 2019 were 34. 32 of those were identified as ex-offenders of a criminal nature, meaning that it’s likely at least half of them pose a risk of violence/ theft to Chester’s citizens. The figure of 32 is almost a double of the 17 rough sleepers identified in 2018, which means that the homeless population is certainly rising in the city. Homelessness in cities are reviewed every five years, meaning that the review done in 2025 would be more useful for harbouring a guess at the number of homeless people in 2030. However, based off the almost 50 % increase in rough sleepers from 2018 to 2019, it could well be that that number rises to triple figures by 2030. This has severe socio-economic implications which drip into the financial potential of the city. If Chester becomes known for having an above average number of homeless people, then this could affect the number of students who desire to come study at the University. It could also affect the number of tourists that visit the city which would possibly affect the profit the city could make. It’s important to keep in mind that these studies only display the number of homeless people that were identifiable, but hidden homelessness (homeless people who find a temporary solution via sofa surfing, or are simply not found to be homeless by bodies of authority) also requires consideration and could well suggest a large increase of rough sleepers/ homeless people across the next few years.

Chester in 2019 has a population of 118,000 (that is compared to the 332,000 across Chester and Cheshire West) according to the World Population Review website. The population increase forecast by Cheshire West and Chester found is a 10 % increase up to 2035, with the entire borough’s population expected to reach 366,700. By 2030, with modern medicine increasing at the rate it is as well as the population increase predicted, it could well be that Chester itself will have a population of approximately 160,000. This could provide real estate opportunities for Chester which would bring the cities’ profit up in the long term. However, with Chester having lots of protected sites, this could prove difficult land permission wise, which begs the question ‘where are these people are going to live?’. This population increase could inadvertently contribute to the increase in homeless people as referenced in the previous paragraph, in which case this population increase will hold negative implications on the state of the city by 2030.

The happiness of residents as well as their mental health is likely to see a positive increase by 2030. According to the ONS residents list their happiness as being 7.7 out of 10, which is a 0.2 increase from 7.5 from the last few years, where Chester was voted fifth happiest place to live in Britain. By that logic then the happiness of residents could be expected to rise to around 8.4 by 2030, meaning the overall morale of Chester’s citizens would be higher and the city would generally be a happier place. If this is the case, then money spent on well-being and mental health services could lessen, which takes further stress away from the NHS and contributes positively to the financial state of the NHS and indeed the city as a whole. If less people are off sick work with depression, anxiety and stress, then the employment figures will be lower meaning less money will be spent on the city’s residents for Employment and Support Allowance.

The unemployment figure for Cheshire West and Chester is 3.6 % compared to the national average of 3.8 %. However, with driverless cars expected to rise over the years could we see an increase in employment by 2030? It’s possible, considering public transport jobs or even eventually the mechanic industry losing jobs as people switch from normal vehicles to driverless ones. Added to that the expected population increases over the next decade, Chester could well expect an issue with employment figures by 2030. That’s not all; AI and robots are expected to take over a third of jobs in the UK according to an article by The Independent which will contribute to even more unemployment. The implication of this is that Universal Credit would be expected to fill in for more residents of the city, causing a further strain on the country’s overall finances. A decade away, there are simply too many factors to accurately predict what the future holds in store surrounding this particular issue; but it’s worth considering that automation is a reality for our future and that this could have an effect on the people’s employability over the next decade.

Cultural diversity could rise or fall in Chester by 2030, with the implications of Brexit being a large part of which side of the coin this falls. If Brexit is to cause tighter foreign policies, then emigration to the UK could falter, either as a result of that or from less cordial feeling from those in foreign countries towards the UK. The idea of cultural diversification is a huge subject, political in nature that is likely to cause side-tracking from the point of the essay, but it’s worth mentioning that it is completely up in the air on what the cultural diversification of the city will be like by 2030, and how that could affect population statistics/ employment figures either positively or negatively depending on the outcome.

According to The Guardian, a leading thinktank concluded that households will earn on average 2 % more by 2030 than they do now, meaning there is minimal improvement to families’ financial situation. It also states that households will be £1700 worse off annually than if UK had chosen to remain in the EU. This could mean that less disposable income is to be expected, which could slow profits of the city down and make it further rely on tourism, which as discussed in the previous post could decline as a result of Brexit also. Could this lack of improved finances affect the predicted increase in happiness of residents?

Chester prides itself on its heritage; the Roman walls, the Cathedral, the Amphitheatre, lots of landmarks and areas of Chester are protected, and the city looks quintessentially Roman in many parts. This is unlikely to change by 2030 of course, but should it? With the points listed above suggesting negative impacts of overall profit for the city, it could be argued that changing the look and feel of Chester for a more modern-day, sleek one could be a way of revamping the city and improving potential revenue. With many cities and towns in the UK currently undergoing ‘regeneration projects’, it’s worth considering that Chester could also benefit from this as a way of increasing the desire from tourists to visiting. In the long-term this would increase the overall profits but naturally in the short-term it would cost the city and the country itself large amounts of money to correctly revamp it.

In conclusion, what Chester will be like in 2030 depends on simply far too many variables, environmental, politically and socio-economic in their nature to accurately determine what we can expect to see from the city. The future is uncertain, and what’s most likely is we will see some aspects of the city improve while others slightly worsen. Progress is cyclical in nature, so the bottom line is that hopefully Chester will improve itself to be prospering in the areas that matter, particularly in the happiness and safety of its residents. If any aspects do worsen, the hope is that this will be minimal and insignificant to the city’s overall state.


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