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quaternary industry

Page history last edited by catrin treanor 11 years, 9 months ago

Quaternary  Industry – Cambridge Science Park

(NB You should also take a look at Surrey University's Research Park - just up the road from us! 




The Cambridge area is sometimes called ‘Silicon Fen’.  By 1992 there were almost 350 firms involved in high-technology activity in the whole of Cambridgeshire, employing over 23 000 people.  There are now over 1200 companies employing around 35,000 people and demand for space has increased.  Cambridge Science Park itself contains about 70 companies.

The growth of this industry in the area has come to be known as ‘the Cambridge Phenomenon’.  There are only two other such high-technology concentrations in the country – Central Scotland (‘Silicon Glen’) and the M4 Corridor.




Why did high-technology industry find Cambridge an attractive location?

  • Cambridge has good communication links with London via the M11, the Midlands and the east coast via the A45. It is close to London ’s third airport, Stanstead and has good access via the M25 to Heathrow and Gatwick.  There is a fast rail service into London also.
  • There is a good supply of high-quality labour and the city is small enough for entrepreneurs to be in easy and quick contact with one another.
  • Cambridge has an attractive setting for both working and living.
  • The University has a long record of technological excellence.  It decided to encourage commercial activity by its staff in the 1960s and gives scientists a free hand to start business ventures.  It maintains strong links with many of the businesses in the science park.



The Characteristics of Cambridge Science Park and the reasons for its location:



·         Answer Q7 on page 143 in WW

·         Use the internet to find at least one example of a named company in the science park and explain what it does.





The Location of the Science Park  is on the Rural-Urban Fringe:



The rural-urban fringe is a zone that has both urban and rural characteristics.  It is a zone of growth where land use and population density can change quickly as the urban area expands outwards.






How can industry create pressure and conflicts on the rural-urban fringe?


 Read the viewpoints below and have a look at

even more  opinions at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cambridgeshire/science/2002/cambridge_phenomenon.shtml


Liz Hudson, City Planning Department



The rapid development of industry has meant that the local people have had to cope with traffic congestion in and around the city. There are over 350,000 daily vehicle trips made in Cambridge . There is also a severe shortage of housing and so new villages, such as Cambourne,  have been started within the rural-urban fringe.  3300 new houses are planned for Cambourne, 7 miles to west of the city. Execuctive housing is priced at over £200 000.

There are also fewer job opportunities for semi-skilled or unskilled labour in the Cambridge area.  High technology firms require  well-qualified staff and employ a high proportion of graduates.



James Weston,  Local Business Associates



High technology industry has brought new jobs to the Cambridge area.  The rapid growth of the quaternary sector has meant that many other companies have set up in and around Cambridge offering support services.

The success of the Science Park has enforced Cambridge ’s position at the forefront of scientific research.  There is a pleasant green environment, a skilled workforce, a successful tradition in high-technology industry and good communications all of which can only ensure that the success of Cambridge ’s industry will continue to grow.



Jenny Marshall, Graduate



The job opportunities have been fantastic since graduating three years ago.  My family and I have now settled in Cambourne   which is only a short commute into the Science Park .   We enjoy exploring the surrounding countryside on the weekends and the housing is a little cheaper than that in Cambridge itself.  It’s great being so close to Cambridge as we can visit the restaurants and theatres.


Mark Smith – Farmer

Farming is increasingly difficult and it might be seen as positive that I have had property developers contacting me to offer to buy some of my land and farm buildings.  I haven’t decided what to do yet but I cannot help but wonder what the expansion of the city will do to the countryside.


Nancy Evans – retired teacher, Cambridge

It isn’t much of a pleasure walking into town as sometimes the traffic is so heavy the noise is unbearable and I don’t like the traffic fumes.  I never drive in as parking is too difficult.  I worry for my son, he is looking to buy a house near to me but I cannot see how he is going to afford it.  I know that some of the young people round here have been on the council waiting list for homes for a long time now.  

Transport problems in Cambridge


June Clarke, resident of Coton –a village to the west of Cambridge



We seem to be gaining on the housing front with the Catharine Hall Farm development, the new houses in Brook Lane and the flats and bungalows in Silverdale Close.  Let's hope that we don't continue to expand and finish up as a suburb of Cambridge !


NB you may want to distinguish between advantages and disadvantages for local people, newcomers, the rural-urban fringe and the CBD of Cambridge itself.


Make a table:

The Impacts of Cambridge Science Park:

  Advantages Disadvantages




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