Peter Murray

Passions run high on all sides in discussions about the future of the Green Belt, but what, if anything, should be done? 

The Green Belt that has wrapped around London since the 1930s was created due, in large part, to the advocacy of the London Society, so we’re again taking the lead by debating how we can make this 20th Century solution for restricting the capital’s growth meet the challenges of the 21st. How could the Green Belt be improved to help the environment and better facilitate new housing?

Previous debates have tended to generate more heat than light, with speakers characterised as “for” or “against” the Green Belt. This London Society event will present a range of views and see if there are any approaches that can satisfy all parties. Speakers will present their thoughts and then be questioned by the Chair and by the audience.

Join us on 4 May for what is sure to be a lively, stimulating and interesting discussion. Tickets are now on sale here 

Speakers include:

  • Richard Knox Johnston, London Green Belt Council
  • Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive U+I plc
  • John Myers, London YIMBY
  • Alice Roberts, CPRE

Chaired by Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects’ Journal

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Peter Murray

 

On 8 March London Society members heard from architect Liam Hennessy who presented Park Lane Boulevard: A vision without tunnels, his proposal to transform Park Lane from a highway to a fine boulevard, humanising what is currently a noisy, polluted urban motorway. Saul Collyns reports.

Microsoft PowerPoint - 150710 Park Lane Boulevard.pptxSpurred by a desire to improve Park Lane’s environment without placing the road into a tunnel, Liam Hennessy proposes to transform Park Lane into a boulevard, and explained that it was conceptualised according to three principal objectives: That an altered Park Lane would not have reduced traffic capacity, that all Plane trees would be kept, and that there would be pedestrian crossings rather than subways.

Hennessy shared images of Park Lane that demonstrate how the heavy traffic volumes and narrow pavements create an unpleasant environment for pedestrians. There are only two pedestrian crossings across the entire road (in an equivalent stretch of road adjacent to Central Park there are seven), and the coach parking spaces lining the road further sever connections between Hyde Park and Mayfair.

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Peter Murray

 

c5v3euswcaabio6The Society’s “Writing London” event last month saw Tom Bolton, Rachel Holdsworth and Andrew Humphreys discussing with London Society Journal editor Jessica Cargill Thompson just what made “great” London writing.

As part of the evening, we asked the audience, and our social media followers, to tell us their favourite London books. We deliberately left it wide open – these could be fiction or non-fiction, biographies, photo books, history, diaries, guide books – whatever.

Given the knowledge and interests of Society members, I was half-expecting a list of worthy history books, architectural monographs and obscure antiquarian oddities, so the first surprise was the number of novels that featured. The second was the breadth of titles mentioned – although a few books were mentioned more than once, no clear ‘winner’ could be said to exist; proof, perhaps of the sheer number of works that continue to be written about or to feature the capital (and the eclectic taste of Society members).

Here are some of those that London Society members recommend.

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Peter Murray

design-museum-6

Of course, anyone can go into the Design Museum as it’s one of the capital’s free musuems, but last week 20 or so London Society members had the place to ourselves in an after hours tour. Even betterm the tour was conducted by the Director, Deyan Sudjic.

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Peter Murray

 

If you have the inclination and the time to help the Society, we’d love to hear from you.

Some things are listed below, but if you’ve any skills that you feel might be useful, drop me a line (director@londonsociety.org.uk) and we’ll be in touch.

  • Events – we always need volunteers to help set up and help clear up after our talks and events, so if you can spare the occasional evening let us know. You get a free ticket to whichever event you’re helping out on!
  • Writing up events – we like to have summaries of the talks and lectures that we run, so if you’re able to join our small pool of writers we would be very grateful
  • Book reviews – we have titles sent into the office regularly and would like to review as many as possible for the website.
  • PR and marketing – our events are well-attended, but we’re hoping to raise our profile still further this year, and we want to recruit more members.
  • Blog posts – if you’ve got something you want to say, or an event that you’d like to review, or a part of the capital that you feel needs more attention, get in touch. We’re always looking for contributors.

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