Unlocking the Capital: How will future transport investments support Londonís growth? - 22/5/2013
London needs at least £1.8 billion of investment in transport infrastructure every year just to do the bare minimum. But the challenge is on with a government that must be convinced into shifting from consumption to investment.
These were some of the key points to emerge from a half-day conference this morning at the NLA - ‘Unlocking the capital – how will future transport investments support London’s growth’.
Transport for London commissioner Sir Peter Hendy kicked off with a detailed look at the upcoming spending round but warned that ‘signs are not good’ with cuts of at least 15 per cent on the cards.
The potential impacts of the cuts are also amplified by the fact that London’s population is growing fast, with projections that it will reach nine million by 2018 and 10 million by 2031, when there will be 25 per cent more trips made on public transport. ‘To accommodate those people and make them economically active you clearly need transport’, said Hendy. And a job created in London is more productive, with the capital operating as the engine of the national economy, he added. ‘Not everyone wants to hear that fact.’ Hendy’s team is asking for consistent investment, partially to help preserve jobs out of London, 41,000 of which in 2012/13 were tied into supplying the capital’s transport network.
GLA’s Stewart Murray said that London ‘is growing more quickly than we thought’, with even the 33 opportunity area frameworks needing reassessment, the London Plan needing revision and a million new homes needed by the mid-2030s, a rate of growth not seen since the inter-war years. ‘We are going to have to up our game very significantly.’
At least the planning frameworks and processes for getting transport infrastructure appear to be improving gradually. Bircham Dyson Bell partner and secretary of the National Infrastructure Planning Association Robbie Owen said that new mechanisms offered more certainty about speeds of decisions from ministers, with projects like the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Silvertown Tunnel in progress. ‘We do now have a planning regime which is starting to work for big infrastructure, he said. Government is starting to appreciate the need to improve planning.’
The trouble with government’s approach though, said the LSE’s Tony Travers, is that the number of planning ministers it gets through compared to Treasury officials belies the impression that it does not take the issue seriously. London is an ‘extreme outlier’ in that it is a big user of public transport, unlike the rest of the country, thinking that it is crucial to invest in this area, while the rest of the country does not. The difficulty for London is that it cannot make its own investment decisions, Travers added, with the spending review process being like a ‘medieval court’, and piles of bids on desks in SW1 – consequently it is easier for most to get rejected. ‘We have an extraordinary willingness to consume rather than invest’, he said. Devolution might be the only answer, to allow London the financial power to make its own decisions.
The conference also heard from those involved in transport delivery, including HS2’s CEO Alison Munro, who detailed the line’s importance to connecting north with south, linking eight of Britain’s largest cities, easing a capacity squeeze and helping kick-start areas like Old Oak Common – prospectively a new Canary Wharf. It could also help to raise the OECD ranking of the UK in terms of public investment in infrastructure between 2006 and 2011, which is currently below Mexico, Chile and Hungary. Crossrail’s Sam Richards showed how the public realm was an important consideration in the new line, with projections that this new piece of infrastructure will add some 18 % to property prices nearby. Mike Keegan presented the case for breathing life back into London’s streets as the key to unlocking development potential, and Argent’s André Gibbs showed how King’s Cross has profited from transport infrastructure, but with a concentration on getting the urban realm right to begin with.
David Taylor, New London Quarterly
The London Office Market: Protecting Londonís Diverse Workplace Mix - 26/4/2013
London’s office market is changing fast and developers need to adapt. The market – increasingly driven by the Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector – is demanding smaller, more diverse, higher density, more flexible office spaces. Meanwhile, new centres are emerging, creating a “polycentric” picture.
These were the main messages from the New London Architecture conference: The London Office Market: Protecting London’s Diverse Workplace Mix on April 25.
Rob Harris, Principal of Ramidus Consulting, warned that the 4 million sqm of office space currently in the pipeline may not be filled. Even though office jobs are forecast to rise by 20 per cent from 2011 to 2031, this is only half the increase in office jobs in the 20 years to 2008. “A slow down in the economy means that we cannot build at the same rate as in the past 20 years.”
Where there is new demand, it will largely be for 5-10,000 and 10-20,000 sq ft office spaces. “The trend in the past 15 years has been to provide larger buildings but we need to think now about providing for smaller occupiers,” he added.
However, 14 megaschemes of more than 1 million sq ft are in the pipeline and London Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive Colin Stanbridge said there was every prospect that such schemes would be filled because London will continue to draw in multinationals because of its tax, intellectual property and legal system and, above all, because it is a city where people want to live.
Stephen Andrews, Project Design Executive Canary Wharf Group said that the group had significantly changed its 2009 masterplan for 2.7 million sq ft of space at Wood Wharf to reflect changing needs. “Very few occupiers are taking 1m sq ft or more now. TMT is driving demand for new space. The Wood Wharf plan is now more complex. Offices will be multi-tenant with more flexible uses. The two thirds/one third mix of office/residential has changed to one third/two thirds.”
Meanwhile, from 2009 to 2012 500,000 sqm of office space was converted to residential, but with such demand for smaller space, several speakers warned that some of this office space would have been better retained to cater for the increased demand for smaller space.
Rosemarie MacQueen, Strategic Director Built Environment, Westminster City Council, said that there had been “significant losses” of office space converted to resi in the borough in the past couple of years. Office in its Central Activities Zone had dropped from 60 per cent to 48 per cent. The borough was developing a policy whereby residential developers would have to provide offices as well to maintain a balance of uses.
Claire Fallows, a partner at Speechly Bircham, said that 30 out of 33 London boroughs had applied for exemptions to change of use planning legislation allowing for conversion of office space into residential.
In his sector analysis, Digby Flower, Head of London Markets at Cushman & Wakefield, said that the TMT sector had increased its share of the central market from 15 per cent to 30 per cent. “The sector has an appetite for location change but the market must understand what the user wants. These companies can’t spend more than 6 or 7 per cent of their turnover on space, so if you can’t provide that they won’t take the space. It’s as simple as that.” Duncan Swinhoe, Managing Director of Gensler, said that for TMT’s what is important is a good environment around the building but the building itself does not generally need to be very high spec.
TMT will continue to move from the West End to the City Fringe where rents are cheaper. Paul Dunn, Director of architects RTKL, said that the practice had recently moved from Tottenham Court Road to the City Fringe. “Our staff were terrified that it would be a world of suits and ties but we found that it was full of media companies.”
Matt Yeoman, Director of architects BuckleyGrayYeoman, said that TMTs wanted space with “authenticity”, “character”, “coolness” and “cleverness”. With the success of multi-tenant tech developments such as the TEA building in Shoreditch High Street, more big developers want to add big multi-tenant TMT buildings to their portfolio, he added.
The banking and financial sector, which now accounts for 19 per cent of the central market, remains very uncertain, said Digby Flower. In 2010 there were six deals in Canary Wharf over 1 million sq ft. Since then there have not been any over 50,000 sqm. “The banking sector will reinvent itself, the question is how? A lot of B&F buildings are not fit for purpose with trading floors only one third full.”
Insurance is still doing very well and will continue to dominate and grow in the EC3 market. “It is one remaining market that relies on face to face deals. Brokers still go to see underwriters at Lloyds. There were eight major deals last year but occupation in tower buildings will be denser,” said Flower.
With a more polycentric picture and with London’s population now set to soar past 8.6 million by 2016 (ten years ahead of the prediction in the London Plan in 2010), according to the Greater London Authority Chief Economist Jonathan Hoffman, new office centres will emerge, such as Waterloo. “If I was to bet on one area doing particularly well in the future it would be Waterloo,” said Digby Flower. “It has everything: the restaurants, bars, the arts.. the only thing it doesn’t have is the office space.”
The future of London’s office market is hard to predict but Digby Flower had a go: “Banking & Finance, Insurance and Legal will stick to their traditional areas, TMT will fill in the gaps and the gaps not filled will go to resi.”
Damian Arnold, New London Quarterly
NY-LON simultaneous seminar - 17/4/2013
London is powering ahead of New York in its transport infrastructure provision with projects like Crossrail, high speed rail and underground upgrades set to have a transformative effect on the city. But despite New York having struggled to find the money and political will to get modernisation onto its programme, the UK capital is still trailing behind in its quest to sort out its aviation capacity shortfall.
These were some of the issues to emerge in the latest in NY-LON, the series of live NLA link-ups between New York and London property and design professionals, held on this side of the Atlantic at KPF’s offices in Covent Garden last week.
The subject in hand this time was infrastructure, with AECOM’s Christopher Choa detailing the way that transport ‘creates the city for us’, having gone through many waves of evolution from ships, to railways, to roads, to aviation. London and New York, he said, have traded and exchanged for centuries, but there are some interesting comparisons to draw upon from today in the two cities. London’s urban area at 607 square miles is twice as big as that of New York, with higher densities equating to shorter commuting times. London is also doing relatively well in the Mercer index, which ranks cities by the urban infrastructure they can boast, coming in at 7th place as opposed to NY’s 30th, with Singapore at the top of the tree. London also has three times as many buses (and pubs) as New York and more funds committed to the underground, spurred on by the Olympics. Moving forward, Crossrail will have a catalytic effect, with extraordinary opportunities represented by the stations and Crossrail 2 offering similar potential, north-south. High speed rail is London’s big strategic connectivity to Europe, and because of it, 80% of travel between London and Paris now goes by rail, with HS2 another rail scheme with benefits for London’s connectivity.
But aviation is perhaps the critical issue facing the capital right now, said Choa, although people have been worrying about this since the 1940s and 1950s. With Heathrow at 99.1% capacity, an independent commission will make recommendations for a new hub airport – New York has two to London’s one, despite having fewer annual passengers and international destinations – but probably not until after the elections.
Jeffrey M Zupan from the Regional Plan Association said that New York’s transit system is also quite old, with precious little built since the 1930s, and 93% of highways are 40 years or older. Good things happening recently include the fact that New York has stopped growing its highway traffic, with vehicle miles of travel over the Hudson River having gone down. Subway ridership has leapt, partially due to the economic rebirth of the city, reliability of the service, and drop in crime. But although the mayor has done an ‘extraordinary job for city streets’ the MTA is ‘terribly underfunded on capital programme, with a shortfall of $10bn or worse, meaning ‘we’re at dire straits.’ With no money for the capital programme there will be sacrifices made elsewhere, most likely in expansion.
Even those schemes which have come forward have been slow in the making. The Second Avenue Subway, first proposed in the 1920s, saw its construction stopped in early 1970s and the first phase of less than two miles scheduled for completion in 2016. Another scheme, East Side Access – to bring Long Islanders to job concentration in east Midtown – was first proposed in 1967 but was also stopped in the early 1970s and it is hoped will open now in 2019, although having increased in cost by three times. There is a lack of political support for new sources of funding, while ageing assets are in need of repair and replacement. ‘We’re dependent on a process that is removed, often, from what the system needs’, said Zupan. Although there is the ‘daily miracle’ of moving seven million people a day through the system, he added, ‘we need to tear down some of these walls in agencies that are creating arterial sclerosis in our system.’
The session also included an observation from Westminster’s Graham King that when the real history of London of the last 20 years is written up we will see how close to being closed down some of our infrastructure systems had been, or else been deemed unsafe. And from the GLA’s Fiona Fletcher-Smith how, despite New York’s ‘downbeat’ presentation, London was ‘pinching ideas’ including that for a High Line Park in east London. The key lesson for New York from London, however, was the system it uses to bring together transport issues with investment decisions and the planning process. ‘It’s a fairly one-word answer’, she said. ‘The mayor’.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Thames Tideway Tunnel Update - 15/4/2013
The Thames Tideway Tunnel promises to tackle the major problem of 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage being discharged into London’s major river every year, whilst bringing with it new above-ground additions to the capital’s public realm.
So said Phil Stride, the head of the Thames Water project at a special NLA briefing held at CBRE’s Henrietta House last week. Stride said the scheme, on which construction work is scheduled to start in 2015 – consent permitting – is part of solution to tackle the problem of overflows from the capital’s Victorian sewers. This is happening once a week but shouldn’t be in a ‘world class city in the 21st century’, said Stride
Starting in west London, the proposed route for the main tunnel generally follows the River Thames to Limehouse, where it then continues north-east to Abbey Mills Pumping Station near Stratford. There it will be connected to the Lee Tunnel, which will transfer the sewage to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. Stride said the 25km long tunnel solution was adjudged the best ahead of sustainable drainage systems by a strategic study group, and will reduce discharges from once a week to four times a year on average. But as a nationally significant infrastructure project it needs development consent, which the project backers are hoping for after submitting an application on 28 February. That application covers 24 sites, runs to 50,000 pages and weighs over a tonne, but the inspectors have just three months to assess it and make a decision.
Stride said that every pound spent on the tunnel – it will cost customers around £70 or so extra per year on their bills from 2015 – is geared to achieving a maximum amount of value, with legacy extending not just to environmental, ecological and public health factors but also in over 9000 new jobs which will be created. In terms of benefits, Londoners and visitors will gain a cleaner river, and the UK will be complying with the European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, with a larger, more extensive river population and increased diversity. ‘All we’re trying to do is provide a natural extension to Bazalgette’s system’, said Stride.
As to the assets above ground, Stride said these are principally blower houses and ventilation stacks, with six sites on which the team will be building onto the foreshore. ‘We’re absolutely driven by delivering a first class design in this project’, said Stride. Architect on the project Clare Donnelly said the foreshore areas include one proposed for Victoria embankment, and others in Chelsea and Blackfriars, and feature integrated areas in which people can sit and take in the new views. There will also, she said, be references made in the designs to the ancient rivers of London which lay below the surface.
Bircham Dyson Bell partner Robbie Owen said that there have been seven schemes that have now gone through the new process for such large-scale projects as instigated by the Labour government under the Planning Act, with the first rejection earlier this week. More information on the Thames Tideway Tunnel documentation and the scheme’s progress can be found at http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/london/thames-tideway-tunnel/ Owen said that the only problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel could come if the impacts of the scheme are considered to outweigh its benefits. ‘The project I believe will get consent’, he said.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Farrell Review of the Built Environment - 10/4/2013
Sir Terry Farrell kicked off his review of architecture and the built environment at the NLA this morning with a promise that it will be as wide in scope as possible and look to the best exemplars from across the world.
Farrell, who set out some of the parameters of the review, flanked by fellow panel members Victoria Thornton of Open-City, Bartlett professor Peter Bishop and Urban and Civic’s Nigel Hughill, said that he will write the review himself and that today was the ‘starting point in a process of listening’. The report – which will be presented to culture minister Ed Vaizey in December this year, will be accompanied by a book and a website with which to ‘give outreach and a manifesto or set of themes’.
The review will investigate its core subject along a series of themes, including education, cultural heritage, the economic benefits of promoting good architecture and understanding government’s role in promoting design quality. It is likely that the review panel will investigate these themes in three meetings, including one proposed for after the report’s publication.
Peter Bishop said that ‘an awful lot of what we’ve inherited isn’t particularly good’, and that while any generation can produce iconic buildings, the goal must be that day-to-day work of the review is in making ‘the ordinary better’. Nigel Hughill said that he felt that the success of the review will stand or fall in how much we can get government to promote good architecture. And he added that, although we often hear of the significance of German engineering, we hear less about the global reach of UK architecture, a situation which needed rectifying.
This was particularly important with the world now being a changed place, said Farrell, and with this century being the century of city-making, especially in China. Happily, said Victoria Thornton, the Coalition is recognising the fact that architecture is part of the economy, even if barriers to education in architecture are considerable, not least in the expense involved in taking a seven-year course. In some instances in UK institutions, said Farrell, British students are disappearing, and access is becoming only for the rich.
The NLA event included a question-and-answer session including other members of the advisory panel Jim Eyre, Allison Brooks and Beam creative director Robert Powell. Questions ranged from the need to have a good gender balance, to recognising that other professions besides architects design the built environment, to the language that is used in describing architecture, to sustainability and the need to carefully consider when the report is published with reference to the political timetable.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Waterloo Think Tank - 27/3/2013
Waterloo must capitalise on new investment in the station and surrounding area and reinvigorate its public realm. But it must do so without neglecting its local population or affordable housing.
Those were some of the key sentiments to emerge from a wide-ranging Think Tank session on the area held yesterday morning at the NLA.
Lambeth Council’s divisional director for planning, regeneration and enterprise Alison Young said that with Waterloo station to a certain extent acting as the borough’s ‘shopfront’, it was important to attend to what for many is their first experience of London, both in the station and directly outside. New developments such as Elizabeth House – the David Chipperfield-designed Chelsfield scheme given clearance by avoiding a call in for public inquiry this week – and government’s potential £300m investment in Waterloo station are bringing confidence and making Young more ‘optimistic’ about prospects garnered through the rise of more focused, partnership working. ‘I think this is a key milestone in where we’re going’, she said. ‘We have to be confident that people won’t still look at Waterloo in the future and think how we’re going to fix it.’
The Elizabeth House decision will begin to reinstate office jobs in Waterloo, said Ted Inman, chief executive of the South Bank Employers’ Group, but the reasons why locals do not go for local jobs in the boom sectors of hotel, hospitality and tourism need to be addressed. Chelsfield development executive Yair Ginor said that the area has in fact lost some 7,000 jobs since the 80s, over which period the Bankside area has increased its tally by around 16,000. ‘We see no reason why Waterloo shouldn’t have that’, said Ginor, declaring Waterloo the ‘geographical centre of London’, with 90 million passengers coming in and out of the station annually. Chelsfield hopes to attract a mix of tenants, probably less from financial institutions and more from the creative sector, with Waterloo the ‘natural’ place for them, next to Europe’s biggest cultural centre. The scheme will also bring a considerable lunchtime spend for the local economy, as well as a boost to the supply chain in perhaps 900 jobs for printers, designers, and cleaners, for example. The opportunity is to make a positive change, backed by a ‘staggering’ level of coordination, said Ginor.
Given a clean sheet of paper, said George Roberts, partner at Cushman and Wakefield, Waterloo would be the office destination of choice, with its accessibility and cultural institutions. Perhaps, though, wondered Michael Ball, director of the Waterloo development Community Group, we should be more realistic about large office development, given the lack of any major pre-let in the area for 20 years, after losing some 100,000 m2 of offices in the last 10 years or so, and with the area’s visitor and cultural attractions having blossomed. Rather, said Ian Tuckett, group director of Coin Street Community Builders, we should look at what is happening with shopping, schools, open space. ‘It’s the mix and balance of Waterloo which is its great attraction.’
An offices location is not inimical with a residential or cultural offer, however, GLA’s Colin Wilson reminded the group. Waterloo has ‘an embarrassment of riches’ with a cultural quarter right in the heart of London. For Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, the key issue is about placemaking, and creating places with human scale rather than talking about sectors in isolation. And culture is far more than just a strip along the river – but who was painting the actual picture? For Tuckett this placemaking ideal was about ‘good and creative management’, while Helen Santer, chief executive for the Waterloo BID said this will be helped by providing good links across and through the station, creating an ‘ant trail’ for the significant influx of new employees and residents that would benefit local shops and services. With its large blocks and different atmosphere is the ground plan that needs to be worked on, added Alex Lifschutz of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.
On affordable housing Alison Young said that the objective is to achieve balanced communities, with moves to flex policy and allow more offsite, but within the locality. Sue Foster, Lambeth’s executive director of housing, regeneration and environment added that it was important to create communities, not those where people aren’t living in the homes they own – as is the case in some parts of London. But Lambeth will be providing only around 280 affordable homes this year, well below the 805 Foster’s ‘Housing Needs Assessment’ says the borough requires annually. The Shell Centre scheme, added masterplanner Michael Squire, will also provide accommodation for older people – an important but often forgotten demographic.
Perhaps, concluded Alison Yates, in answer to that leadership question, Waterloo needs a bespoke partnership, limited company or other model, something to lead social and economic development in the area.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Development Economics: Making regeneration stack up in the era of CIL - 6/3/2013
The Community Infrastructure Levy can be harnessed as a potent force to get development moving, but a balance must be struck to allow for viable schemes and to create infrastructure, affordable housing and places that people want to live in.
Those were some of the key themes to emerge from a wide-ranging NLA conference last week, which examined the impact of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, Localism Act and CIL charges on the viability of regeneration projects in London. Development Economics – making regeneration stack up in the era of CIL kicked off with DCLG deputy director, economic and social planning Mark Lee providing an update on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. Lee said that it was a particular focus for both the prime minister and his deputy to get stalled schemes going. There has been ‘fairly rapid progress’ made on the new Bill, but areas of debate have so far related mostly to the ability to apply directly to the secretary of state, affordable housing, and broadband in rural areas. The first aspect ‘may seem like a strange kind of localism’, he said, but localism is also about responsibility and the need to serve your communities effectively. ‘There’s a recognition within government that there are a lot of stalled sites with homes on them’, said Lee. ‘We want to get those moving’.
Senior lecturer in spatial planning at the University of Westminster Duncan Bowie said he was concerned that the question of viability of schemes was now driving outputs, to a certain extent to the detriment of planning policy objectives. Proposals in the bill, he added, seemed to be based on the assumption that affordable housing is the main constraint on development, though this was not proved in impact assessments. ‘Much of this debate and affordable housing through planning obligations is an unhelpful diversion from dealing with that fundamental issue of a long-term public sector investment’, he said.
The real need, said BNP Paribas senior director, development consulting, Dr Anthony Lee, was to strike a balance with CIL between infrastructure requirements – transport, education, health and so on, and the viability of development. Thus far, Redbridge is the only outer London borough with a CIL up and running, with a flat rate of £70/m2, and the authority’s interim chief planning and regeneration officer Mark Lucas said CIL ‘needn’t be as taxing or as difficult as some might fear’. The borough has a particular requirement for schools, with a ‘staggering’ need for 44 new forms of entry, and is one of the few authorities adopting an action plan along its section of the Crossrail route. ‘I think we have not seen the last of the mayoral CILS, with Crossrail 2 the obvious candidate’, he said.
Croydon, Barnet and Brent’s CIL rates regimes have been examined so far, with Croydon aiming to promote growth in its centre by applying a nil rate for residential in the core. In inner London, Wandsworth is the only one to get to the adopted stage, with a nil rate for Roehampton to prompt development, and Nine Elms Vauxhall the chief focus, with the Northern Line Extension the key beneficiary. ‘CIL can be a catalyst for growth’, said Lee. ‘It is not all going into a big black hole’.
Assistant director of planning at the GLA Stewart Murray said the context for all of this was of Boris Johnson aiming to ‘turbo charge’ the economy and prepare for London’s major population increases, placing pressure on infrastructure. Johnson will be announcing his ambitions to create 200,000 new jobs and a minimum of 34,000 new homes per annum this Easter, although London is only achieving around 25,000 new homes per year at present. ‘The mayor is keen to unlock stalled sites in London – there are 170,000 homes with planning permission which are not being built.’ At Nine Elms, some 14,000 of the 16,000 homes have planning permission without the NLE being built. ‘We really want to make a successful piece of London here’.
The conference also heard from speakers including Speechly Bircham partner Duncan Salmon on negotiating the best deal, advising that development agreements are drafted with sufficient flexibility to allow phasing. Renewal’s Jordan Malik showed how effective collaboration between public and private could achieve the right mix in regeneration at the Surrey Canal sports village scheme, masterplanned on a difficult site by Studio Egret West, while that practice’s David West outlined some of the firm’s work in this area at Clapham One, Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, Stratford and East Croydon.
Lucas again: ‘I would say to you that if development isn’t working in London, or stalling, or sites are not being brought forward it is absolutely not due to the imposition of CIL. If infrastructure is being delivered, it is precisely because CIL is being injected into it’.
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterley
NLA opens submissions for New London Awards to find the capitalís best built and proposed projects of 2013 - 27/2/2013
NLA opens its annual London-wide awards to entries on Wednesday 27 February, to recognise the very best in architecture, planning and development in the capital.
Both built and unbuilt projects across all sectors of the built environment are eligible for entry to the New London Awards, and will be judged by an eminent panel of international experts in the fields of urban planning, property and design.
The jury will be looking for schemes of the highest design quality that demonstrate a positive impact on their surroundings and make a wider contribution to life in the city. Unbuilt projects can be at any stage of design or construction, whether at concept-stage or currently on site, while built projects should have been completed within the last two years.
Awards cover all sectors of the built environment: from individual homes to hotels; museums and galleries to masterplans; office interiors and buildings to outside spaces; stations to stadia; schools and universities to service infrastructure; retrofit and restoration to retail interiors; and healthcare facilities to meanwhile projects.
Winning and commended schemes will be announced on 11 July at NLA’s Annual Lunch at the Guildhall – attended by over 500 of the capital’s leading public and private sector professionals and decision-makers across development, design, planning and construction. All shortlisted projects will be featured in NLA’s year-round New London exhibition at The Building Centre and in a special publication.
The New London Awards are now in their third year, with previous winners including King’s Cross station, the Olympic Legacy Communities Masterplan, Barking Central and the London 2012 Velodrome. Again, this year judges will be seeking projects that contribute to and enhance NLA’ s vision for New London: a city that is sustainable, civilised and egalitarian, that seeks to improve the quality and standards of new design and that respects its rich mix of old and new, that supports the regeneration of its towns, and that strives to improve the usability of its streets and public spaces. Commended and winning projects will be those that are considered to contribute most to their urban environment through design excellence, show careful respect of local context, and demonstrate innovative and efficient use of resources in their construction, maintenance and proposed lifespan.
Deadline for entries is Friday 26 April 2013.
Full details of awards categories, judging criteria and entry forms can be downloaded here
Notes to editors
Awards categoriesConservation & Retrofit – The restoration and reuse of buildings; be it historic restorations, contemporary insertions or recycled buildings where efficient use is made of existing fabric and embodied energy.
Education – Educational establishments of all kinds – nurseries, schools, academies, universities – where design improves the learning experience.
Health and Care – Projects improving the health of Londoners, young and old, from healthcare facilities to housing for an ageing population.
Homes – The best examples of individual new houses across the capital.
Hotels – Projects that enhance the overnight offer for tourists and business people staying in the capital.
Masterplans – Plans that demonstrate placemaking at its best – area-wide regeneration and new parts of the city.
Office Buildings – Office buildings that generate positive form for the city – exemplary places of work that meet the needs of businesses, technology and the individual.
Office Interiors – Commercial fit-out projects that create efficient and inspiring working environments.
Public Buildings – Museums, art galleries and theatres, community buildings such as libraries and youth centres and sports facilities of all kinds – places that attract or provide services to local visitors and tourists.
Public Spaces – New spaces, rediscovered spaces and parts of London that have been given new life by some TLC to the public realm, be it improvements to streets, squares, playgrounds, waterspaces or parks.
Residential sponsored by M3 Consulting – Multi-unit residential developments of any tenure – from super prime to social housing – creating exemplary new places for people to live.
Retail Interiors – Shops, restaurants and bars with innovative interiors; well-designed projects that enhance London’s retail and leisure offer.
The Temporary – Recognising meanwhile uses, temporary installations and initiatives aimed at enlivening spaces, places and high streets across the capital.
Transport & Infrastructure sponsored by Bircham Dyson Bell– Transport projects and related architecture that both enhance the experience of moving around the city and add to the quality of the environment, and infrastructure projects – water, waste, energy, SUDS – that will help London work more efficiently and sustainably.
Peter Murray, Chairman, NLA (chair)
Dominique Alba, Director, Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme, Paris
David J Burney, Commissioner, New York City Department of Design and Construction
Hugo Macdonald, Editor, Monocle
Riccardo Marini, Senior Consultant, Gehl Architects
Monica von Schmalensee, CEO/VD, Partner, White
Debbie Whitfield, Director, NLA
The Square Mile Ė Londonís CBD - 14/2/2013
The City of London is preparing itself for a future with a more diverse make-up than just the financial institutions that have provided its bedrock in recent years.
That was one of the main sentiments to arise from The Square Mile – London’s CBD, a special On Location conference that took place at the Guildhall yesterday morning.
Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation Mark Boleat said that in order for the Square Mile to continue to flourish it needs the macro economy in the UK and beyond to perform well and for London to be an attractive place to do business. The capital is already a great place in which to live, he said, with its culture, sport, educational facilities and language, but in terms of the financial services the regulatory environment needs to be made more attractive and for visa policy to be reformed. London’s aviation policy, meanwhile said Boleat, was a ‘crushing indictment’ that needs swift answers. But the City was never about banking alone, with other sectors such as insurance and TMT proving to be major players. ‘Diversity in the City is important to us’, said Boleat. ‘It is an undoubtedly more attractive place than it was five years ago.’
Boleat added that planning initiatives had helped to bring in retail in areas like Cheapside, with extensive work on public realm and projects like the Bloomberg development near Cannon Street figuring as huge votes of confidence in London’s appeal to overseas firms.
Indeed, DTZ head of UK research Ben Burston said that the City attracted the highest amount of investment ever from foreign purchasers in 2012 - £5.9bn of the total £7.1bn – driven by its status as an international business centre and safe haven against the backdrop of Eurozone worries.
The City is continually evolving to meet these concerns, said GVA executive chairman Stephen Brown, but the City’s Peter Rees disagreed that it could afford to be less flexible about residential, for example because it lacks the kind of facilities to support new homeowners such as GPs and schools. What the City could do, however, is continue to create an appropriate new, 24 hour mix, said Rees, with nightclubs aiding the life of the City once the office workers go home. ‘It is important for London that the City is different’, said Rees.
British Land director, head of London leasing, Paul Burgess said that, increasingly, the City is an attractive proposition for insurance companies, pulled ever closer to the Lloyds building and surrounding areas. AON’s was another ‘tremendously positive’ move for the Square Mile, after it signed a pre-let at the Leadenhall Building or ‘Cheesegrater’. But the banks will not disappear, said Burgess, predicting that hedge funs and boutique banks might make a return to the City. For Burgess, Crossrail will be the single most important factor behind the City’s continued success, offering fast links to Heathrow for the first time.
The conference also heard about trends in workspace - latterly showing a move toward higher densities, but with some sectors and personnel still reticent about giving up their desks. The TMT sector is another key part of the City’s future, said Knight Frank head of commercial research James Roberts, driven by cheap office supply, improvement in City amenities and ‘a new sense of a cluster, with a growing momentum’. These firms’ priorities are primarily staff-related, but, said Exemplar co-founder Daniel Van Gelder co-founder, people don’t quite comprehend how diverse the TMT sector is – ranging from Shoreditch start-ups to massive multinationals like Nokia. As John Robertson of John Robertson Architects, pointed out, tech has expanded hugely, to the point where the banking sector is valued at £400bn, tech £500bn. ‘That gives you an idea where the current growth is’.
By David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Aerotropolis - 8/2/2013
London’s status as a pre-eminent world city is in danger of weakening as other nations develop Aerotropolises and embrace the notion of ‘survival of the fastest’.
That is according to John Kasarda, Director for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina, speaking to a packed audience at NLA this morning. Kasarda, an authority in the concept of the Aerotropolis – where airports are at the centre of commercial, residential, retail and industrial development, said that the foundations of the traditional hierarchy of the main world cities – New York, London and Tokyo, are being weakened. This is mainly through failures to improve their infrastructure, with London facing tough decisions over its aviation policy. On the one hand, said Kasarda, fresh from a meeting with London mayor Boris Johnson to discuss the issue on Thursday, a green-field solution would be ideal, but the millions of pounds of investment that has gone into airport provision to the west of the capital must not be forgotten.
‘The Aerotropolis is the physical manifestation of bringing the local and the global together’, said Kasarda, stressing that the modern city is shifting to enhancing metropolitan competitiveness, based on economic efficiency, aesthetics and sustainability - both social and economic.
In the modern world, he went on, companies do not compete against other companies, their suppliers compete against their rivals’ suppliers, with items such as the iPhone 5 being a global operation in terms of manufacture and assembly.
The so-called ‘fifth wave’ of development we are now living in – preceded by first seaport-based development, then by river and canal-based development, the railroads and then the highways – is a 21st century city developed around airports. And the basic drivers of the wave are large jet aircraft, globalisation, speed, agility, connectivity, perishability and tourism. ‘Today is not the big eating the small, it’s the fast eating the slow’, said Kasarda. ‘It’s the survival of the fastest. You have to be agile and flexible.’
Other airports around the world are embracing the notion of the Aerotropolis, such as New Songdo City in Korea, ‘an instant city’ of the kind China needs 500 of, said Kasarda, while new concepts include airports adopting the civic plaza or central square, as at Indianapolis. Increasingly, too, businesses are drawn to relocate their headquarters near to airports, such as KPMG, six minutes’ walk away from check-in at Frankfurt, and hotels at airports are changing to become business hubs first, places to stay second. The ‘granddaddy’ airport city of them al is Schiphol, with its multimodal urban core, while Washington Dulles has seen the creation of a million new jobs in its environs since 1985.
For London, said Kasarda, international tourism and business travel will be key. ‘Connectibility is crucial for maintaining world city status’, he said, pointing to the $250bn that China is investing in new airports in the next five years, and $100bn the Middle East is spending. This is a ‘wake-up call’ - they view such infrastructure as assets, while Europe tends to look on airports as nuisances, he added. ‘It hasn’t hit yet the neglect of your aviation and surface infrastructure…I think London will no longer be the global city that it is. You need the connectivity and the 21st century airports that meet 21st century global realities. You can’t stop globalisation. It will just march forward. Rather than fighting it, the Aerotropolis leverages it.’
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
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