The Spring/Summer edition of the Journal of the London Society is now available.
This issue marks 50 years since the 1967 Civic Amenities Act created the first official ‘conservation areas’ as a way of acknowledging the overall character of an area, rather than the merits of individual buildings. There are now more than 1,000 conservation areas in London alone, ranging from elegant Georgian squares and Art Deco housing estates, to places valued more for their community than their architecture, such as the Walworth Road.
London certainly has much worth cherishing – physically and culturally – but we cannot preserve the urban in aspic. Cities are living breathing organisms, they must grow, adapt and evolve. So how do we marry the concept of conservation with the need for continual change? Who chooses what stays and what goes, and according to what criteria? How do we use the best of the past and present to create a meaningful future? The Journal therefore both celebrates some of London’s most attractive conservation areas and hard-fought battles with the bulldozer, but interrogates the concept of conservation itself.