A strand weaving through almost every event over the last quarter was the prospect of London’s population rising as much as projections suggest. In February – and if you believe the figures – the capital will become bigger than it has been since 1939, at over 8 million people. As Sir Terry Farrell said at an NLA event recently, in the last five years, London has added 500,000 people – the equivalent of an Edinburgh. In the next 10 years, it will add a million more – or a Birmingham. What is more, the curve sweeps up further until it reaches 10 million by 2030: a megacity, not just a world one.
All of which has ramifications almost everywhere you look, be that in the hot potato of housing supply, in transport, the provision of schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, governance and planning, as London’s tentacles spread ever outward. In this issue, we ask experts in many fields for their projections, given that change in this crucial election year, in our Viewpoint feature. Our New Londoner this issue, Ian Lindsay, is concerned not just with getting Crossrail built, but with providing the extra facilities above ground to help deal with the daily influx, including the public realm – an evermore important resource as populations and densities increase. We profile Lucy Musgrave, whose organisation Publica is involved in a similar endeavour, providing the bedrock of research for developers and local authorities to ensure that their back yards are developed with character. And at the Top of their Game this time is Allies and Morrison, scooping up awards and masterplans for major swathes of the city as it goes, many of which aim to cope with population increases through tall buildings.
Clearly, London needs new powers to deal with this kind of growth, say some. We look at the issue of devolution in two ways – first from Jules Pipe from London Councils, who believes that this may be the year when real political change frees up local authorities with more power. And secondly in an interview with Lord Heseltine, a proponent of more power for the regions following his experiences in Liverpool, and his regeneration prowess as exemplified by Docklands.
A smarter London will allow a fast growing population to get more out of the resources it already has by harnessing technology in myriad ways, so we present a special feature to accompany the NLA exhibition on the subject, while there is a special On Location feature on the Nine Elms Opportunity Area area, itself projected as home to some 18,000 new homes.
Finally, we’re pleased to present yet more growth, with our special supplement on Don’t Move, Improve!, bundled with this edition of New London Quarterly.
Enjoy the issue.
David Taylor, Editor