Where’s my town/ place?
Understanding Welsh Places includes information about every place in Wales with more than 1,000 residents. If your village, town or city is home to 1,000 or more people, you should find information about it here. Places with less than 1,000 residents are not included on the website because quality, reliable data is not generally available for villages and communities of this size.
If you live in a place with between 1,000 and 2,000 people, you will find that there is less data available for your town or community than for larger places. If your place has more than 1,000 residents but you can’t find it, it may be one of the small number of places that are classified as part of a larger place that is in very close proximity.
How have places been mapped and defined for Understanding Welsh Places?
Villages, towns and cities have been identified and their boundaries defined using the Contiguous Built Up Areas (CBUAs) mapped by the Office for National Statistics for the 2011 Census. We have chosen to use CBUAs due to the availability of statistical data and to ensure we are using a recognised and transparent definition. CBUAs also help to avoid merging towns and villages that border one another but are distinct places in their own right (in the south Wales valleys, for example). The boundaries of CBUAs do not match those of electoral wards, so, for people used to dealing with ward boundaries and statistics, the definitions of places presented on this website may look quite different.
Who wrote the description of my place?
Wherever possible we have asked people who live in a place to write its description for Understanding Welsh Places. The text has been drafted by town or community councils in most cases. The Understanding Welsh Places team has edited some of the descriptions to keep the tone consistent across the website. If you think there’s something wrong with or missing from the description of your place, please get in touch.
I live near the border. Will Understanding Welsh Places tell me about my town or village’s relationship with places over the border in England?
If you live near the border with England, the information presented on this website about commuter and visitor journeys in and out of your place includes popular journeys to and from destinations over the border. However, at the moment the inter-relationship assessment for your place does not take account of its relationships with, reliance on or provision of services for places over the border. We know that understanding these relationships is an important part of understanding places near the border. Understanding Welsh Places is a developing resource and we hope to add analysis of cross-border relationships to the website in the near future.
But that’s not how I spell the name of my place!
The English names of villages, towns and cities on Understanding Welsh Places come from a list used by the Office for National Statistics for presenting information such as Census data. The Welsh place names that appear on the site are sourced from the office of the Welsh Language Commissioner. Where possible, if a different spelling or name is used locally, we have changed our spelling. However, if you think we’ve got a name wrong, please get in touch.
Will Understanding Welsh Places be updated when new data is published?
Yes. Wherever possible we have built Understanding Welsh Places using technology (APIs) that enables statistical information to update automatically when new open data is published elsewhere. Where this automatic updating hasn’t been possible, we are committed to monitoring the publication of new, relevant data and updating existing datasets as soon as is practical.
Can I trust the data on Understanding Welsh Places?
Yes. The majority of the datasets have been published elsewhere as official statistics, which means that they follow principles relating to trustworthiness, quality and value. If any sources that are not official statistics have been used, our analysts have ensured that the data is of sufficient quality for use in decision-making. The Welsh Government’s chief statistician has been advising on this work and the development of the website has been led by experts in geographic and social data from Cardiff University.
Why can’t I find the data I’m looking for?
We have made decisions about what information to include on the website and what to leave out in response to the availability of quality, reliable data and to conversations with potential users. Because some of the analysis on Understanding Welsh Places (the typology of place, inter-relationship assessments and highlighting of similar places) involves comparing places, any data included on the site has to be available for the whole of Wales. You may be aware of a dataset that has not been included because it did not meet the above requirements. In some cases, data exists, but is held by private companies and not available for open publication. Data in this category does not appear on Understanding Welsh Places.
The Understanding Welsh Places website is also a work in progress. We will be updating and adding to what’s online in response to feedback from users and the availability of statistical and geographic information about places in Wales. We welcome your comments on the website.
You can add data that is particular to your town or community to the Understanding Welsh Places website. See Question 13 (below) to find out more.
What information is still to come on Understanding Welsh Places?
Extra datasets will be added to the website in 2020. We are working on sourcing data about the environment, such as access to urban greenspaces and air quality, as well as information about people’s participation in cultural and sporting activities and about access to services.
Where else can I look for data about my place?
Here are some websites and organisations that also hold open data about places in Wales:
StatsWales is the Welsh Government’s data portal and contains a wealth of statistical data for small statistical geographies.
The Lle geo portal is Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government’s joint initiative. Here you will find data and information, including mapped data and visualisations, covering a range of topics, with a particular focus on the environment.
The Office for National Statistics website will give you access to a wide range of official statistics about Wales and the rest of the UK.
Users of the WISERD DataPortal can search, discover, map and download socio-economic research data related to Wales.
Where can I find out about services in my area?
Understanding Welsh Places isn’t a contacts book or list of local services, but there are other websites that provide this information:
Infoengine is the directory of third sector services in Wales. If you are looking for voluntary or community services in your area, this is a good place to start.
Dewis Cymru is the place for information about well-being in Wales and includes information about relevant local organisations and services.
4theRegion is an independent membership organisation helping to make change happen for south west Wales.
Can I use Understanding Welsh Places to develop a place plan?
Understanding Welsh Places provides a useful baseline for towns, places or communities about to develop a place plan. The data can help people to understand the needs of a place and can stimulate conversations through face-to-face engagement and other qualitative methods. The data also provides a benchmark for checking how place plans are making a difference in communities and whether investment is making a direct impact.
You will find links to various templates for and guidance on creating place plans and community-based plans on the Place Audit page of this website.
What is the difference between Profiling Places and Understanding Welsh Places?
There are important differences between these two data website and we’d expect users to select the one that best meets their needs. Profiling Places Wales aims to support Welsh local authorities, Public Services Boards and their partners, both to plan and deliver services, and to understand how places are changing over time. Understanding Welsh Places (UWP) is a public facing resource for citizens and community groups. UWP also has an additional layer of analysis which allows local places to identify those who are ‘like them’ using cluster analysis.
Who is responsible for Understanding Welsh Places?
The original idea for the website came from the Carnegie UK Trust. It is inspired by the success of the existing Understanding Scottish Places site. Carnegie and the Institute of Welsh Affairs have worked with representatives from the public, private and third sectors and have consulted with people from across Wales to come up with a plan for the website. The development of the site itself is funded by Carnegie and the Welsh Government. The website has been built by a team led by staff from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) at Cardiff University, with additional data processing and analysis provided by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.
The website has also been shaped by a core cross-sector group of interested people and a sub-group of data experts. We are most grateful to the members of these groups for the time, energy and expertise that they have given to the Understanding Welsh Places project and for the support that they continue to provide. They come from: Aberystwyth University; the board of trustees of the Bevan Foundation; Building Communities Trust; Chris Jones Regeneration; the Design Commission for Wales; the Federation of Small Businesses Wales; Monmouthshire County Council; the Office for National Statistics; One Voice Wales; the Univeristy of Stirling; the Wales Council for Voluntary Action; and Knowledge and Analytical Services and the department for Homes and Places at the Welsh Government.