Creating a new community or cultural hotspot from scratch is an extraordinary and huge challenge, especially in an over-developed city like London, where space comes at a premium. But as this year’s London Festival of Architecture highlights, there is a plethora of new and ambitious regeneration projects underway in the capital. Seeking to create new neighbourhoods, in some cases the size of small towns, these new schemes are currently sprouting up in previously neglected pockets of the city.
‘I think it’s important that we create communities, places where people want to live and work,’ says Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, developers who currently have regeneration projects underway in London’s Blackfriars and Manor House, both of which are being opened up as part of the LFA’s programme of walking tours. ‘This is what regenerating London is all about - making places people can enjoy.’
The theme of ‘cultural placemaking’ is particularly strong at this year’s festival and is the focus of a talk organised by the Architecture Foundation that examines the locally-led garden city-style development that is planned for Ebbsfleet in Kent. Taking place this weekend, Ellis Woodman Director of The Architecture Foundation and Louise Wyman architect and Ebbsfleet UDC Masterplanning Director are set to discuss how the masterplan is taking shape at the offices of AHMM in Old Street.
For a preview of projects underway in the beating heart of the city, join Transport for London Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, who will be driving his restored routemaster around the West End with representatives of London's leading developers. Acting as tour guides for the trip, the developers will highlight the work they are doing across Covent Garden, Regent Street, St James's, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Victoria and Kings Cross.
For those interested in the impact that London’s array of new developments will have on the skyline, the Design Council has brought back its sell-out London skyline tour, in which Thomas Bender, the Cabe team’s Lead Advisor for Design Review, explores the skyline’s past, present and future.
At the other end of the spectrum, away from the glossy developments, research group Cass Cities has organized an exhibition and series of walking tours that draw attention to the uncertain future of London’s small businesses; specifically those of the middle Lea Valley (Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest), which may be the next to fall victim to the capital’s seemingly insatiable appetite for the new.