While London’s mayors have all paid homage to the idea of a city of town centres and neighbourhoods, the capital has developed in a very monocentric way over the last 30 years or so, encouraged partly by the view that this was demanded by the economics of agglomeration.
The event is part of Phase 2 of London Futures, our major strategic review of London.
Much of the new workspace and job growth created since London began to grow again in the early 1990s has been focused on the central parts of the city, with transport investment directed to radial routes to accommodate this.
A number of developments are putting the future of London’s growth model centre stage. First, the climate emergency is promoting people to look for more sustainable ways of living. Second, the pandemic, while decreasing overall economic activity, has also led to a shift away from city centres to home working and neighbourhood activity, with many hoping that even as we recover, we might be able to keep the best elements. Third, some, at least, have detected a growing interest, among the public at large, in new, more balanced forms of development that prioritise ‘good growth’ over cruder GDP-type versions.
This private roundtable will focus on new approaches to planning and development. The urbanist and Sorbonne professor Carlos Moreno has developed the idea of the 15-minute city – a framework that has since been championed by the Mayor of Paris and has been attracting attention elsewhere. London’s own recovery activities place a new emphasis on local working and suburban economic revival – even as the old retail-based models of London town centres and high streets struggle.
Our London Futures review will foster the new thinking that London needs to sustain its success and tackle its growing challenges