New London Architecture

Local London: post-pandemic recovery - launching 1 December 2021

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London’s polycentricity has been brought to the fore during the global pandemic, with Londoners spending more time at home, and many rediscovering their local neighbourhoods, parks and facilities. Yet at the same time London’s outer town centres and high streets have been tested like never before, not to mention the strain this has also placed on London’s Central Activity Zone.
NLA has documented and illustrated London’s evolution as a polycentric city, celebrating the capital as incorporating many 15-minute cities, critical to the city’s recovery.

In 2017 we called for better physical and digital connectivity, robust shared visions and plans, better use of local character, high quality mixed use developments, incremental, phased growth, and denser development that respects local character. Four years on, these recommendations for good growth are no less important and indeed underlined by what we’ve learnt this past year.

In this report, we investigate London’s flexibility and adaptability, looking ahead to how high streets and town centres are changing to integrate a new mix of uses, enhanced public realm and improved infrastructure. We look at the next wave of development that is shaping London’s centres and how we can strengthen London’s polycentricity and ultimately its resilience to future crises.

RESEARCH AIM AND KEY LINES OF ENQUIRY

  • Supporting Good Growth and regeneration of high streets and town centres after the pandemic, with a particular focus on retail, hospitality, placemaking and planning.
  • Sustainable and equitable growth across London’s town centres, including balancing inner (CAZ) and outer London needs
  • Reconsidering densification while maintaining local character
  • Rethinking interconnecting transport infrastructure, public realm and cultural enterprises
  • Promoting private and public partnerships to deliver viable masterplans and recovery strategies





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