Over 70 of London’s great and good in the architectural, development and planning worlds gathered at Arup’s headquarters on Friday to debate what sort of future the capital could or should create.
This was a day-long NLA charrette, facilitated by Arup, designed to bring together leading thinkers to debate issues as they relate to the next iteration of the London Plan.
The day involved separating into groups, which roved around tables discussing topics comprising Movement, Wellbeing, Living, Working, Form, Digital, Governance and Delivery, and Structure. Moderated by Arup facilitators in each area, the debates threw up issues as diverse as a review of the Green Belt – over 70 per cent voted in favour of this in a final poll – a review of the density matrix, and where the borders of the city could or should be drawn. Other conclusions included that London should not sacrifice employment capacity for housing; the Plan needs to encourage small-scale intensification of the suburbs; there should be a more flexible approach to use classes and buildings, a fixed tariff for and better definition of affordable housing and the very plan itself could be more digital and ‘live’.
Assistant director of planning at the GLA Stewart Murray said it had been an ‘immensely helpful’ day, especially given the onset of the ‘thinking mode’ period down to the new mayor taking power next May. As such this is the ‘most important next iteration of the London Plan’ since its first, and probably since the Abercrombie Plan, he added. ‘We have to be creative, we have to be radical, we have to be innovative’, said Murray. ‘We have a chance here to produce something quite creative that is befitting of a successful growing, sustainable metropolis, and a successful London. So let’s capture those thoughts and put them into the machinery.’