Currently showing blog posts for: April 2019 - . Go BACK to view all posts.
Peter Murray

 

What will future high streets offer if it’s not shops? Hosted by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Society’s ongoing examination of the state of the high street curated by Jane Clossick, Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at London Metropolitan University, continued with ‘Beyond Retail – what else can high streets do?’. Report by Sarah Jarvis of Placeworks.

Our three speakers, Dr Gayle Rogers, Melissa Meyer and Simon Quin, took us on a lightning and enlightening tour of high streets around the country. For a largely London-based audience this brought an insight into what is happening further afield, as well as a fresh look at neighbourhoods nearer to home. It reminded us that while there are commonalities shared by many communities, the importance of place should never be underestimated.

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

This year’s AGM is on the horizon – date and venue to be confirmed, but likely to be the first week of July – so now is a good time to consider joining the Society’s executive committee.

All members of the Society are eligible to put themselves up for a committee role, but there are some ‘skill shortages’ that we would be keen to fill.

If you have experience in ENGINEERING or skills in PR or MARKETING, or work for a DEVELOPER or PROPERTY FIRM, or have TRUSTEE EXPERIENCE for another charity, we would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in joining the committee – whether or not you match these criteria – please email the director for more information.

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

The latest edition of ‘Planning in London’, the magazine of the London Planning and Development Forum has just been published and can be read below. (also available to download as a PDF here.)

On page 56 you can read Daniel Moylan’s piece “The Planning System is Broken Beyond Repair”, the text of his talk at the recent London Society/RTPI London debate.

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures

By Roma Agrawal (Bloomsbury, £20)

Reviewed by Sarah Eley

Reviewed in the Journal of the London Society no. 473

 

Roma Agrawal’s passion for her subject, the structures that make up the built world we live in, shines through in her book. Agrawal takes us on her journey of discovery of the wonders of structural engineering, beginning with her experience of Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers, a city she visited as a child when her engineer father took up a job in the US.

Simply titled ‘Built’, Agrawal starts her book with an exploration of force and the way it flows, as this influences the form that structures take. Hand drawn illustrations, which are peppered throughout the book, keep the reader’s mind on track and help to simplify concepts.  The subsequent chapters explore the building blocks of clay, metal and rock, building up into the sky and down into the earth, tunnelling through and bridging over, and the essential delivery of clean water and the taking away of sewerage. 

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

In the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society, Mark Prizeman revisits past Journals to find out what the London Society was up to 50 and 100 years ago.

50 years ago: Greenbelts, London Estates and early thoughts for a Congestion Charge (December 1968 and March 1969)

A report on a ‘Greenbelt Drive in Surrey’ with maps and commentary given by the County planning members and Officers of the County who planned the route, concludes that: ‘Surrey is indeed to be congratulated on the beauty of its countryside and the care they are taking to preserve so much for the delight of future generations.’ A couple of visits to interesting London buildings housing other societies are noted along with a talk by Stuart Weir given to the Society on De Beauvoir Town in Hackney that is reported in full ‘by way of an experiment [as we] are only half way through our researches into the past of the area, and my talk is one way of finding out just how much we have discovered – and how interesting it is,’ part of an ongoing lecture programme on the London Estates.

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

Each year New London Architecture publishes a survey of tall buildings which are being built or will be built in the capital. This year’s figure is over 500. With so many in the pipeline today it is worth recalling the impact that the public enquiry, nearly 20 years ago, into the application to build the Heron Tower has had on planning in London. The proposals for the tower were resisted by English Heritage, supported by the Corporation of London and robustly fought for by Gerald Ronson the developer of the KPF-designed tower. The plans were called in by John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, in 2001 and following a fractious public inquiry Prescott agreed with his inspector that there was no significant harm to the setting of St Paul’s and granted it permission.

The inquiry was so costly for EH that their resistance to future developments was sorely diminished, Mayor Ken Livingstone was a keen supporter of towers and other permissions soon followed, most notably for The Shard.

The Heron Tower Inquiry was a turning point in London planning and it will be fascinating to hear the recollections of some of the key players in that saga at our meeting, held in conjunction with the Royal Town Planning Institute, on May 30th.

 

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

A Place for All People

By Richard Rogers and Richard Brown (Canongate Books, £30)

Reviewed by Lettie McKie

Reviewed in the Journal of the London Society no. 473

 

There are some architects whose reputation precedes them. And then there is Richard Rogers, the original starchitect.

From the first moment of this excellent coauthored autobiography the reader is plunged into Rogers’ Technicolor world of optimistic, egalitarian, wildly experimental and unapologetically modern architecture. It is impossible not to emerge starry-eyed and breathless.

He and Richard Brown tell the Rogers story in a fun, accessible style that mixes personal anecdote, highlights from his career, a potted history of 20th century architecture, and political commentary. It is readable and enjoyable even for those who aren’t normally interested in architecture.

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

In the latest article from the new Journal of the London Society, Jessica Cargill Thompson on the need for using fine-grained understanding of neighbourhood identity and meaningful public engagement to rebuild trust.

‘I’m absolutely fuming,’ says Dave (not his real name) as he holds forth from his barstool in the Lord Nelson pub on South London’s Old Kent Road. ‘We’re never consulted on any of this… none of it’s for us… Do they ever come and talk to us?… They promise us one thing then just do what the developers want anyway… What’s the point? It just makes me really angry.’

This is a condensed version of an actual conversation I had recently, but it’s a refrain I’ve heard at every local Area Action Plan consultation session I’ve attended over the past two years while exploring the identity of the Old Kent Road for my MSc research. I’ve heard it at similar meetings around other regeneration schemes. I’ve read it in the media – national and social. I’ve seen it in reports by august organisations, and in the work of highly respected academics.

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

In another article from the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society, Heather Jermy urges us to look deeper than the city’s physical structures to find the essence of a place. Only then will we understand what’s truly worth preserving

Places change. Across generations and centuries our cities and towns grow, evolve and develop, moving forward to respond to fashions and tastes as much as function, politics and economy. We see this pattern in all its guises across London: from Georgian mews once filled with hay and horseshoes, now luxurious family homes, to the once teeming docks of Canary Wharf, now home to towering office blocks. Take the Tower of London: built by William the Conqueror it was once the most forbidding structure in the city, but it was overwhelmed by Thomas Telford’s St Katharine Docks in the mid-19th century and dwarfed 70 years later by Tower Bridge. The towers of the 21st century are now constructed in steel and glass, with Sir Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin’ starting the trend for an increasing number of ever higher and more creatively nick-named structures – the Walkie-Talkie, Cheese Grater and Shard. Yet all these structures, ancient and modern, are icons of London and of Britain, significant for their place in the history of the city and its people, essential for telling its story.

Read More…

Leave a Reply

Peter Murray

 

Cadogan Estates have sponsored ‘Create Streets’ to research a new report ‘Of Streets and Squares’, which is available to read here.

The report considers what makes a place ‘tick’ at the most fundamental human level. Which public spaces are most valued or shunned? Why do people tend to prefer some places rather than others? And how does this affect their behaviour?

‘Of Streets and Squares’ is the largest study of its kind to date – it reviews the empirical evidence, conducts MORI polling, uses insights from neuroscience and a unique and ground-breaking ‘big data’ algorithm (the Place Beauty Analysis) to study the relative popularity of 19,000 public spaces in six British cities. Based on this work,  they define ‘indicative rules’ for creating places people actually want to be in.

Read More…

Leave a Reply