‘The English allotment lottery’ (Guardian Data Blog)


The Guardian DataBlog published an article on 10 November 2011 about allotment waiting lists based on data gathered from hundreds of Councils in the United Kingdom. The data and the interactive map published with the article both show allotment waiting lists and rent prices. We decided to feature this project because it was in one of our very own workshops that the idea took off.

According to Farida Vis, who initiated the project, 'growing your own has exploded in popularity in recent years and waiting lists for council allotments are soaring. But finding out how exactly long allotment waiting lists are everywhere in the country is a mammoth data task.'

Vis points out that the data was obtained from several sources, namely, the Transition Town West Kirby, which has been collecting allotment information for three years on a national basis, as well as hundreds of Freedom of Information requests sent to the different councils. This data includes the number of available lots, the number of people on the waiting lists, as well as the prices in 2008 and 2011. Other information was obtained in the form of tenancy agreements.

Sreenshot of interactive map of allotment waiting lists

‘Although it is tempting to simply highlight this problem in a different way, with additional data and accompanying visualisations, I was keen to highlight that whilst I do think there is an issue with councils not providing more sites, it is also clear to me that they are not exactly in a position to necessarily do so given the current economic climate,’ says Vis.

Read the full article on the Guardian DataBlog and explore the data yourself through the interactive map.