New London Architecture

London Tall Buildings Survey 2016

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NLA London Tall Buildings Survey 2016, produced with research partners GL Hearn, and with support from data partners EG, into the number of tall buildings in the pipeline for London and will hear from policy makers, local authorities, developers and their consultants to discuss key issues around how London is planning for and bringing forward tall towers.

Overview by Peter Murray: 'This survey provides a snapshot of the changing shape and scale of 21st century London. The pipeline of tall buildings continues to grow, although their listing here is no guarantee that they will be built. A softening of the top end of the housing market, a resurgence in demand for commercial property, and the the uncertainties surrounding the EU referendum all complicate the forecasting of completion dates for this current crop of tall buildings.'

Excerpt from the introduction

Towers take longer to build than lower buildings and they are impossible to phase; following the financial crash of 2007-8, a number of tall buildings were put on ice thus extending their delivery time – The Leadenhall Building took some 14 years from design to completion, and 20 Fenchurch Street took over a decade. The developer of the Greenwich Peninsula, where some 32 towers are proposed, is looking at a 20-year phased programme. 

The clusters of towers in the Opportunity Areas of the London Plan are taking shape – in the east, in Tower Hamlets and Greenwich, the clusters are larger and the population more dense. This change of scale is inevitable as the capital faces up to the challenges of its burgeoning population within the constraints of the Green Belt and the lack of a wider planning strategy. 

Yet we still need to improve the quality of planning information so we can better assess the benefits and problems of towers as groups of buildings rather than individual icons and to clarify their group impact on the city in advance. The Corporation of London is using a 3D-computer model to shape the City cluster in a much more effective way than was previously possible. The whole of the capital needs these tools – which can be used by architects, planners and communities alike. It is something the NLA has been pressing for since our first Survey and which the next Mayor will surely need if he is to make properly informed decisions on the future shape of the capital. 


By Peter Murray, NLA Curator-in-chief and James Cook, Planning Director, GL Hearn

Analysis of data
By GL Hearn

Update on tall buildings identified in the 2015 pipeline
An update of the tall buildings identified in the 2015 pipeline to review how these schemes have progressed.

Key activity over the last 12 months
A review of all known tall building proposals identified as entering the system over the time period of 1 March 2015 to 29 February 2016. 

Comparison of activity in the last 12 months with last years’ data

Summary of all data
A review to consider what is in the pipeline, and the key areas where tall buildings are clustered.

Comparison between the number of storeys of tall buildings.

Location of tall buildings
By borough and London sub-regions.

Type and use
Comparison between primary uses.

Publications details

Published March 2016
8 Pages

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Tall Buildings


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