All credit to UDL (Urban Design London) for hosting another really good debate at Palestra today. The theme, ‘Ways to intensify suburbs’, attracted a keen audience of local authorities, housing associations, GLA, TfL, DCLG and others.
Duncan Bowie (academic and former aide to Ken Livingstone) was first up with a fascinating analysis of how the London Plan has evolved since the Compact City of 2004. He talked about the need to find 'new middle ground' between the spiralling densities of central London (approaching 400dph) and the near stagnation of the suburbs (languishing at 25dph). Kat Hanna, from the Centre for London, followed with new research on workspaces and economic centres. We contributed practical solutions – ideas about interesting, efficient housing typologies that achieve higher densities and address demographic change while respecting the essence of suburban character.
In the brainstorming that followed, delegates shared thoughts and ideas. James Murray, London’s new Deputy Mayor for Housing, couldn’t make it but is keen to receive the presentations and the ideas generated. He’ll have plenty to think about.