New London Architecture

Cities Without Cars


Friday 11 November 2022
08:30 - 09:30

From ‘all-for-cars’ to ‘car-free’: is it possible?
In the 1950s, with the car revolution, all cities were transformed for cars. Streets were redesigned to facilitate road traffic and some projects even proposed high-speed ways in the heart of cities. Pedestrians, cycles and active travel were thus pushed into the background for decades. This shift in transport modes has completely reshaped the face of our cities. 70 years later, reflections in many cities seem to be moving towards reversing this trend with removing cars in some areas.
This has been accelerated especially since the pandemic, which saw the emergence of a new pattern of lifestyle: less commuting, a desire to have access to green spaces and a growing preference for active travel. Car-free neighbourhoods that encourage active travel are developing in different cities across the world such as Barcelona, Paris, Seoul and several cities in the Netherlands. What about the UK and London? Are these changes radical enough to change our mindsets and transport modes in the long term? Is it possible to imagine a London without cars? 
Making cities car-free requires investment and collaboration between the public and private sectors to massively support public transport and active travel. It also impacts infrastructure: what would become of the existing infrastructure? What new infrastructure would be needed?
In this breakfast talk, we will explore the possibilities and opportunities of a city without cars by looking at projects in the UK and abroad, assessing and debating the infrastructure and investment needed.

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Speaker biographies

Sophie Thompson

Director, LDA Design

Stephen Barrett

Partner, RSHP

Dav Bansal

Partner, Howells

Andrew Tyley

Partner, RSHP

Cllr Clyde Loakes

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate and Air Quality, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Nicola Sheppey

Head of Communications, NLA

Alexander Longdon

Principal City Planner, TfL Transport Strategy & Policy team

Transport & Infrastructure



RSHP London Studio
The Leadenhall Building
122 Leadenhall Street

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