Saturday Morning Planning School (five lecture series)
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 21 October to Saturday, 18 November, 11:30 - 12:30

Non-members who block book will receive 1 year's membership

Want to distinguish your Garden City from your City Garden OR learn how we went from Green Belt to Green Growth? 

The London Society’s Saturday Morning City Planning School is for you!

Following on from the immensely successful Saturday Morning Architecture School, this series of events seeks to provide an overview of how and why our cities have grown in the way they have, with a focus on London. We’ll explore the history of London’s development over the past 2000 years and its urban revival in the past quarter of a century. We’ll explain how decisions are made and how the idea of “affordable” housing, which dominates the media, has emerged over two centuries of debate to the viability-driven decision-making of today. Leading the course will be an expert line-up of speakers, from academia and practice, sharing their experience with an overview of how our city (and cities) have been managed over time and what the future holds.

Speakers are chosen for their expertise in each field and the talks will be fully illustrated. There will be ample time for discussion and questions afterwards.

Classes will be held between 11:30 and 12:30/1pm at The Building Centre where we will have access to New London Architecture's magnificent 1:300,000 scale model of London to help illustrate each of these talks.  
The Gentleman Baristas' will also be on hand in the cafe to supply you with some of the best coffee in town!

Saturday, 21 October
London History: 2000 years of London Plans.
- Duncan Bowie 

Saturday, 28 October
Social/Affordable Housing: Its origins, development and modern affordable debate.
- Dr. Paul Watt (Birkbeck University)

Saturday, 4 November
Regeneration: The compact city and renewal.
-Dr Paul Watt (Birkbeck)

Saturday, 11 November
Delivering Growth: How change happens on the ground.
- Rachel Fisher (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Saturday, 18 November
The Future of Planning: What’s broken and how should we fix it?
- Zoe Green

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust. 

Saturday Morning Planning School: History
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 21 October, 11:30 - 12:30

London History: 2000 years of London Plans
Duncan Bowie will review the plans for London; from the Roman Governor Ostorius Scapula, through Wren and Nash to Pepler, Unwin, Abercrombie, Livingstone and Johnson, together with numerous more obscure planners. 

Duncan Bowie is a retired senior lecturer in planning at the University of Westminster, and the author of a book on planning and housing in London under Ken Livingstone: Politics, Planning and Homes in a World City (Routledge 2010). 

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust.


Islington Pub Crawl
Crown, 116 Cloudesley Road, Barnsbury, N1 0EB, 25 may attend.
Tube: Angel (Northern line)

Monday, 23 October, 6:30 - 8:30

Join architectural pub historian Geoff Brandwood  as he leads this tour of three fine examples from the golden age of pub building at the end of the Victorian era and which still retain much of their original character - the kind of establishments that helped define our London street-scenes.

We start at the beautifully ornamented Crown, Barnsbury, and then proceed via the Camden Head, Camden Walk, to the Island Queen, Noel Road. 
Food is available at all three pubs, and will be at your own expense. 

Saturday Morning Planning School: Social/Affordable Housing
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 28 October, 11:30 - 12:30

Social/Affordable Housing in London
Dr Paul Watt will examine social and affordable housing in London in four parts.
The first part will provide an overview of what is meant by ‘social rental housing’ and ‘affordable housing’ in the London context. The second part will offer a brief history of the development of social housing in London, beginning with philanthropic housing in the 19thcentury, but mainly focussing on 20th century council housing as provided by local authorities.

This will then lead onto the third part which examines the causes and consequences of the long-run decline in social housing since the 1980s; the latter is a major factor which shapes London’s present-day housing crisis. The final part of the talk will focus on how many of London’s council-built housing estates are subject to regeneration schemes which involve their demolition and replacement with mixed-tenure housing developments including new private homes. This aspect of the talk will draw on original research undertaken at several London council estates which examines the aims and effects of such regeneration schemes with an emphasis on understanding the views of estate residents.

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust.

Saturday Morning Planning School: Regeneration
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 4 November, 11:30 - 12:30

Regeneration in London
Dr Paul Watt will examine urban regeneration in London in two main parts.
The first part will provide an overview of what is meant by ‘urban regeneration’ and it will include a brief discussion of various kinds of regeneration programmes in London. The second part will examine what is referred to as ‘sports-led regeneration’ and in so doing will provide an in-depth analysis of the 2012 London Olympic Games.


This analysis is based on original research undertaken in East London over several years, much of which has focussed on disadvantaged youth. The discussion of the 2012 Games will consider the main official aims of ‘legacy’ and ‘convergence’. It will also examine the housing-related aspects of the 2012 Games regeneration. It will question how far a sustainable and inclusive Olympics’ legacy has resulted in terms of housing in relation to issues such as affordable/social housing provision, homelessness and the new East Village development.

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust.

London Icons: The Illuminated River Project
Allies and Morrison, 85 Southwark St, SE1 0HX
Tube: London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines), Southwark (Jubilee line)

Tuesday, 7 November, 6:30 - 8:30

Sarah Gaventa Director of the Illuminated River Foundation will talk about the concept by US artist Leo Villareal (with British architects and London Society Supporters Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands) to create a subtle kinetic LED light sculpture that will unify and light up the bridges of central London from Albert to Tower. Once complete, this will be the longest public art commission in the world at 2.5 miles in length.

The artwork will link the bridges along the Thames to one another visually and enhance and respect the architectural character and history of each structure. . It aims to help improve the quality of access to the bridges and help knit them into the wider public realm. This will be a completely free and publically accessible art project which forms part of the Mayor’s planned cultural strategy for the Thames and a renewed cultural and public realm focus on the river.

The project is an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable environment for the Thames and its wildlife. By removing excessive light spill on the bridges and direct light into the river, it will help improve the natural environment for the flora and fauna of the Thames. The Illuminated River will also encourage debate about the role of light and light quality in London.

Behind the Scenes: The Beaumont Hotel
The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF, 10 may attend.
Tube: Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines)

Wednesday, 8 November, 2:30 - 3:30

Join celebrated restaurateur Jeremy King (The Wolseley, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and The Colony Grill) for this very special Behind the Scenes tour of one of Mayfair’s Art Deco gems.

The building, which started life as a car garage in 1926, is part of the Grosvenor Estate. In 2008 the Estate invited Corbin & King convert the structure into a luxury five-star hotel.  Grand in style yet intimate and welcoming, the hotel's design by ReardonSmith Architects, is inspired by the great Art Deco hotels of the 1920s. It features the first inhabitable work of art by Anthony Gormley – ROOM, a 10 metre sculpture that serves as a unique guestroom for the hotel.

Due to the limited availability for this tour, attendance will be by ballot. 
The ballot closes on Wednesday, 1 November at noon at which point you will be contacted. Confirmation of attendance and payment must be received by close of day Thursday, 2 November.

Photo | ©Nick Ingram

Saturday Morning Planning School: Delivering Growth
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 11 November, 11:30-12:30

Delivering Growth: How change happens on the ground

What does ‘local growth’ look like? Can you plan for it? Who are the key players in making places successful?

Rachel Fisher will explore the flip side of local growth – can places become too successful? Drawing on international and UK examples, this talk will explore the relationship between planning policy and what happens in reality. 

Loitering has a bad reputation, but it’s key to understanding what makes places successful. From coffee shops to nail salons high streets and town centres are increasingly driven by services with a human touch rather than the historic retail offers. But with housing increasingly unaffordable to people of average incomes, where will the baristas and manicurists live. Posing as many questions as answers this talk promises to be a lively discussion of the interaction between policy and practice.

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust.

Saturday Morning Planning School: The Future of Planning
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT
Tube: Goodge Street (Northern line)

Saturday, 18 November, 11:30 - 12:30

The Future of Planning: What’s broken and how should we fix it  
Cities are hungry!
They feed on people and goods to fuel the global economy. By 2050, the global population is expected to exceed ten billion people, 75 percent of whom will be living in cities. London is not immune to change, with the city’s population expected to swell to ten million by 2030. The Mayor of London is acutely aware of the challenge of meeting the demands of this population growth whilst driving the capital’s economy forward and emphasises the need for stable and continuous investment in housing and infrastructure projects. 

Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), drones, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), biotech will each have a profound impact on the way we design and use the city in the future, both in London and beyond. In thinking about the future of London, this session will explore the extent to which planning is able to shape the environment, especially in the face of disruptive forces. 

Run in association with the Built Environment Trust.

Zoe Green is a chartered town planner and smart cities expert with 10+ years of experience of providing strategic and spatial planning advice on urban economic and sustainable city development. Working closely with national and city-level government ministries in Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa, Zoe has provided advice on urban planning and economic tools, policies and frameworks for cities and regions.

Argent, 4 Stable Street, N1C 4AB
Tube: Kings Cross (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, and Victoria lines)

Thursday, 23 November, 6:30 - 8:30

The emerging neighbourhood to the north of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations is the product of the largest mixed-use development in single ownership to be masterplanned and developed in central London for over 150 years. 8m sq ft across 50 new and restored buildings, 26 acres of public space, including 20 new streets, and (ultimately) some 40,000 people living, working and studying, are just a few of the statistics.

Argent’s involvement began in 2000 with construction commencing in 2008 after a lengthy, but collaborative and ultimately positive planning process. With some 5-6 years of construction still ahead, it remains an unfinished work, but it is already attracting 10 million people a year into a place that was until recently considered a no-go area for most. In the words of Edwin Heathcote at the Financial Times, King’s Cross is “….the perfect mix of grittiness and shininess, simultaneously a symbol of London’s industrial and engineering past and the creative present.”

Nick Searl is a partner at Argent (the developer) and has been involved at King’s Cross for 10 years. He will take us through the story of how the development was conceived and how a focus on people has been central to the way it has been designed and is now being managed.

Photo | ©John Sturrock

House Me London
Colliers International, 50 George Street, W1U 7GA, 30 may attend.
Tube: Bond Street (Central and Jubilee lines), Marble Arch (Central line)

Wednesday, 29 November, 6:30-8:30

Coinciding with the launch of Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan, the theme for this year’s World Town Planning Day is that of the “House Me London” campaign.
Launched in May, the “House Me London” campaign seeks to engage all Londoners in a far-reaching social-media discussion about the challenges of and solutions to London’s housing crisis.

London’s annual World Town Planning Day event has become a regular calendar highlight and this is no exception. The evening will feature an influential panel of speakers from within and beyond the built environment professions, who have each influenced debates in both the UK and globally. Sharing their bold and imaginative views will be Jonathan Manns (Colliers International), Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Jonn Elledge (New Statesman / CityMetric), Kevin Rhowbotham (Architect), John Myers (London YIMBY) and Dickon Robinson (Building Futures). The discussion will be chaired by Zoe Green (PwC).

World Planning Day - House me London is a partnership event with : Colliers International, UCL, The London Society, RTPI, New Zealand Planning Institute, and Planning Institute Australia.

Discovering Secret London
Pilbrow & Partners, 2-5 St John's Square, EC1M 4DE
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Tuesday, 5 December, 6:30-8:30

How well do you know London?

Matt Brown will take you on a tour of parts you might not be aware of - from the deepest catacombs to the highest rooftops. 

For 12 years, Matt has been a professional explorer and chronicler of the capital as editor (now editor-at-large) of 'londonist.com'. He'll begin by describing the genesis of Londonist - a website that sprang from hobby to successful business. The site has published almost 50,000 articles about London and now has 1.3 million twitter followers.

Matt will then share stories from some of his most intriguing site visits. Find out what happens behind the lights of Piccadilly Circus; how to stand on the weather vane of St Bride's; the secret rooms and relics of St Paul's; and how to dress yourself in the morning when your day includes a trip down the Northern Outfall Sewer AND the press launch of a new sherry bar. 

Throughout, the talk will be peppered with revelations from Everything You Know About London Is Wrong -- Matt's myth-busting guide to the capital which will be available for sale on the night.  
The evening will finish with drinks, mince pies and other Christmas treats.

King’s Cross Central: A Neighbourhood In The Making
St Pancras Station, Euston Rd, N1C 4QP, 25 may attend.
Tube: Kings Cross St Pancras (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria lines)

Saturday, 9 December, 10:30-12:30

Join Blue Badge Guide David Thompson for this fascinating walking tour around one of the capital's most recent developments.

Regeneration of the great Victorian behemoths of King's Cross and St Pancras Stations has facilitated the redevelopment of derelict former rail lands to the north. A total of 67 acres is being transformed into a multi-billion pound mixed-use neighbourhood encompassing commercial, retail, cultural, educational and residential buildings. 

Approximately 40% of the land will remain open and publicly accessible and contains some of the best contemporary landscape schemes to be found anywhere in Britain. Wherever possible historic structures have been retained and retro-fitted for contemporary use, such as Lewis Cubitt's 'grade 1' listed Granary Building, which now forms part of the University of the Creative Arts, and Thomas Heatherwick's 'kissing-roofs' remodelling of the Coals Drops, into what will be one of the most original retail locations in London.

If you have not previously visited the development or remember the area before work began it's a guarantee you will be amazed!

London Symphony Film Screening

Join us at a candlelit Southwark Cathedral for a screening of the inspiring and beautiful black and white film London Symphony. With no dialogue, just a stunning accompanying original musical score, this film is a tribute the glory of this great city and its diversity and culture - a poetic journey through London, a cosmopolitan city facing a challenge to its identity in the current political climate.

The screening will take place in the beautiful candlelit Cathedral nave. Doors will open at 7pm and the screening will be followed by a short interval before a Q&A with the Sub Dean & Canon Pastor Michael Rawson and the Director, Alex Barrett.

Directed by Alex Barrett, and featuring an original musical composition by James McWilliam, it is an artistic portrait of the city as it stands today, and a celebration of its culture and diversity.

The film was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.