Sunderland is a port city in North East England. It is the principal settlement of the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderland. It is situated at the mouth of the River Wear, approximately 16 km south-east of Newcastle upon Tyne and roughly 19 km north-east of the Durham. Historically in County Durham, there were three original settlements by the mouth of the River Wear on the site of modern-day Sunderland. On the north side of the river, Monkwearmouth was settled in 674 when King Ecgfrith of Northumbria granted land to Benedict Biscop to found Monkwearmouth Monastery. In 685, Ecgfrith further granted Biscop the land adjacent to the monastery on the south side of the river. As the river separated this land from the monastic community, it was henceforth referred to as the "sunder-land" and would grow as a fishing settlement before being granted a charter in 1179. West of the medieval village of Sunderland on the south bank, Bishopwearmouth was founded in 930.
Sunderland grew as a port, trading coal and salt. Ships began to be built on the river in the 14th century. By the 19th century, the Port of Sunderland at Sunderland Docks had absorbed Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth, owing to the growing economic importance of the shipbuilding docks. Following the decline of the city's traditional industries in the late 20th century, the area grew into a commercial centre for the automotive industry, science and technology and the service sector.
Since the mid-1980s Sunderland has undergone massive regeneration, particularly around the City Centre and the river corridor. Japanese car manufacturer Nissan opened the Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK factory in 1986. The factory and its supplier companies remain the largest employers in the region. As of 2012 over 500,000 cars are produced annually, and it is the UK's largest car factory. Also in the late 1980s, new service industries moved into sites such as the Doxford International Business Park in the south west of the city, attracting national and international companies. Sunderland was named in the shortlist of the top seven "intelligent cities" in the world for the use of information technology, in 2004 and 2005.
The former shipyards along the Wear were transformed with a mixture of residential, commercial and leisure facilities including St Peter's Campus of the University of Sunderland, University accommodation along the Fish Quay on the South side of the river, the North Haven housing and marina development, the National Glass Centre, the Stadium of Light and Hylton Riverside Retail Park. The Echo 24 luxury apartments are situated on Pann's Bank overlooking the river and the Sunderland Aquatic Centre is adjacent to the Stadium of Light, containing an Olympic-size swimming pool. The Bridges shopping centre was extends towards Crowtree Road and the former Central Bus Station, attracting national chain stores.
Sunderland A.F.C. has been a major symbol of the area and a contributor to the local economy since the late 19th century. The club was one of the most successful and best supported clubs in the English game during this era, with its home at Roker Park holding more than 70,000 spectators at its peak. The club plays at the Stadium of Light at Monkwearmouth on the banks of the River Wear. The stadiums seats more than 49,000 spectators. Sunderland's relatively high attendances have been a major boost to the local economy – averaging at more than 30,000 even during the club's current spell in the third tier of English football.
The Sunniside area in the east-end of the city centre, includes a multiplex cinema, a multi-storey car park, restaurants, a casino and tenpin bowling. Sunniside Gardens are landscaped, and contains cafes, bars and restaurants. Sunderland City Council's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) outlines ambitious regeneration plans for a number of sites around the city. The plans are supported by Sunderland Arc, an urban regeneration company funded by the City council, One NorthEast and the Homes and Communities Agency. Vaux and Farringdon Row
Plans for further development include extensive office space, hotels, leisure and retail units, residential apartments, a new Crown and Magistrates' court and a central public arcade, creating an "evening economy" which will complement the city's nightlife. Keel Square is a public space to commemorate Sunderand's maritime heritage. The Sheepfolds industrial estate occupies a large area of land between the Stadium and the Wearmouth Bridge with development plans including further sporting facilities, and a Sports Village, hotel, residential accommodation, and a footbridge linking the site with the Vaux development.
The Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) is a proposed transport link from the A19, through the city centre, to the port. A major phase of the plan was the creation of a new bridge, the Northern Spire Bridge, which links the A1231 Wessington Way on the north of the river with the Grove site in Pallion, on the south of the river. The Port of Sunderland, owned by the city council, has been earmarked for medium-term redevelopment with a focus on mixed-use industry. Documentation relating to the region's coalmining heritage are stored at the North East England Mining Archive and Resource Centre (NEEMARC). The Liebherr crane factory is the last remaining heavy industry on the River Wear in Sunderland. The National Glass Centre provides international glass makers with working facilities and a shop to showcase their work, predominantly in the artistic field.
Sunderland has a population of over 270,000 people. Sunderland also forms part of the wider Tyneside metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,599,000 people. Sunderland is the #166 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 3.7356 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.