To celebrate the 50th edition of New London Quarterly, we thought it would be a good idea to ask 50 of built environment’s brightest and best one simple question: ‘What is the best thing about London?’ This week's response comes from Benjamin Derbyshire, Chair of HTA Design.
Let’s hear it for London’s diversity! Despite everything that conspires against it, the sheer ebullience of our multicultural society is what sets London apart for me. Alright, I’m not starry-eyed about the huge problems of institutional discrimination, social and economic disadvantage suffered by women, BAME and LGBTQ+ groups and there remains a mountain to climb to obtain a level playing field for all of us. Notwithstanding, I can’t resist celebrating the upside, mixing it with the diversity amongst people on the streets, in healthcare, transportation, at work or leisure.
We’ve all walked so much more over the last two years in neighbourhoods rendered quieter by Covid restrictions. Never have I been more aware of the many languages spoken by passers-by. Never have so many of us been tended by so many with diverse cultural origins as we have been processed with kindness and efficiency through vaccination centres. London is a lodestar in Britain and across the world for the joys of being amongst peoples from all walks of life. I’m excited by that, and the opportunity to show the way towards, a truly equitable society with the immeasurable benefits that will flow.