NLA unveils the New London Model and public spaces programme

Wednesday 22 April 2015

The New London Model © Paul Raftery

Public London Exhibition

Nolli Map showing day time usage of the city of London

NLA this morning kicked off its Public London programme of events to celebrate 10 years of transformations to the city’s public realm and unveiled its new interactive model for the first time.

The Public London exhibition tracks the key initiatives, people and projects from 2005 to 2015, uncovering what NLA chairman Peter Murray branded ‘the incredible transformations’ in the last decade or so and a shift in the way our public space is designed, delivered and managed, with 250 projects showcased through images and models. The show opens tomorrow, with a private view tonight to be attended by John Gummer (now Lord Deben), who was a prime mover in the World Squares for All concept and kicked off some of those key changes, added Murray. ‘While London’s public realm has clearly come a long way in 10 years, there is still a lot to be done’, Murray added, so the show includes recommendations that might ensure that London remains an ‘open and inclusive city in future’.

Outside NLA, guest curator Sarah Gaventa has transformed the South Crescent as part of a temporary installation called ‘Never Mind the Bollards’ exploring the history and design of the elements we see in our public spaces and including a mobile library, a new seating area, telephone boxes that have become ‘the world’s smallest galleries’, plus a ‘talking bollard’ that will show how the city of the future will respond to our needs.

The new model, meanwhile, built by Pipers with data supplied by Ordnance Survey, is at a scale of 1:2000, covers more than 85 square kilometres of the city and features some 170,000 buildings. It extends from King’s Cross in the north to Peckham in the south and the Royal Docks in the east to Old Oak Common in the west. The model will be supported by touch screens and five bespoke interactive films, including on London’s proposed 263 tall buildings planned or under construction, while visitors will be able to see projected overlays on things like view corridors, developers’ schemes and transport links such as HS2 and Crossrail 1 and 2.

NLA chairman Peter Murray said the new model will be a ‘spectacular tool’ for everyone who wants to know about London’s future, from school groups to international city leaders, when its full functionality is complete on 20 May, with a launch sponsored by JLL. ‘The really interesting thing about models like this is they really illustrate the proximity of areas like Old Oak Common.  It changes your mental map of the city and it allows you to understand the way the city is shaped’, he said. 

The New London model will be officially launched with full digital capabilities in May.

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly

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