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  The Society’s new motto of “Valuing the past; looking to the future” will be apparent in everything we do in 2019, with talks, lectures, debates and panel discussions that will look at the future of London through the lens of our city’s history. The main themes this year include the use and development of Parks and Open Spaces in the capital. The green space in the city is the envy of other capitals, but government cost-cutting has had a negative impact on local authorities’ maintenance budgets and at the same time there is local resistance to the increasing number of events in public parks. This year the Society will have a series of talks and visits around the subject, as well as an ‘ideas competition’ to ask how parks can meet the needs of visitors, residents and fund raising. We also have a great series of talks, walks, tours and other events on the evolution and challenges to London’s high streets. It’s a truism that London is a collection of villages and neighbourhoods, and vibrant high streets are important to the individual character of each area. How do these places survive? What can planners, architects, local and national government, and us as individuals, do to keep these centres vibrant and thriving. And we’ll look at the literal building of London with a series on engineering and infrastructure – whether that’s the development of such established structures as Waterloo Bridge, Brunel’s Paddington and Tower Bridge, or what is needed as London’s population continues to increase, but its priorities change. There’ll be a joint event with London Historians where we announce the ‘winner’ of our public vote for London’s worst public sculpture; a debate on moving the capital out of London – how might that benefit the city and the rest of the UK?; and we’ll be continuing our look at some of London’s Icons and Great Estates. As always, you’ll be able to see behind the scenes of notable new buildings and redevelopments of some ‘old classics’ on the Society’s architect-led tours. More on these will be sent out in the Society’s regular email newsletter (which you can sign up for at And once a month through the year there will be an architectural walk, each focussing on a different part of the capital. We will also be working with RTPI London on a series of debates around the subject of planning. This will include Daniel Moylan (one of our main speakers in 2018’s London Brexit debate) stating that the current planning system is broken beyond repair and needs to be replaced; Caroline Murray will chair a panel discussion on how we can build our urban places to be inclusive for all of society, and there will be debates on air pollution and on the proliferation of “privately owned public spaces”. In Spring and Autumn there will be new classes in our Architecture and Planning Saturday schools. These have become very popular fixtures in our calendar and early booking is advised. In the past two years over half of the events that the Society has run have sold out. To enjoy priority booking before tickets go on general release – as well as getting a discount of up to 50% on the cost of events – you should become a member: visit for full details.