Oxford is one of the world’s most photographed, filmed, and written-about cities. The dominant images are of historic Oxford and millions of tourists visit these sites each year. However, contemporary Oxford - while cherishing its historic core and green spaces - is far more diverse than its media stereotype suggests.

Oxford is the hub of a world-class knowledge economy, leading in publishing and creative industries, medical research, high performance engineering, space research, and other high-tech spin-offs from the activities of the city’s universities. Oxford is also the cultural capital of the region and a major retail centre.

Oxford has high levels of ethnic and cultural diversity and - with a very high proportion of students - it is also a youthful and mobile city. There are also major inequalities in life chances with consistently low levels of educational attainment and skills in some areas.

The city is a densely packed urban space with very constrained boundaries. There are severe pressures on housing stock. Average house prices are fifteen times higher than average incomes and there are large concentrations of homes in multiple occupation. Inadequate transport infrastructure causes widespread traffic congestion.

This combination of opportunities and challenges is at the heart of contemporary Oxford.

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