New London Architecture

Active influence and thought leadership

Tuesday 04 June 2024

Mike Axon

Managing Director
SLR Consulting

This was the first meeting of the Transport & Infrastructure expert panel in 2024. 
 
In 2023, the panel produced a whitepaper for the New London Agenda. This Whitepaper addressed socioeconomic issues and set objectives for reducing transport-related carbon, improving health, and supporting high streets. It identified matters that mattered and theorised that particular design and strong leadership were required for the step change required. It identified measures and interventions.
 
We started 2024 with the thought, how do we make a difference? How do we take what we did in 2023, demonstrate that what we advised in terms of design does what we say it does, and effect the necessary change?
 
We were determined to be active influencers and thought leaders, with politicians as our target audience. We determined to spend some of our time focusing on gathering evidence that implementing what we say is ‘best practice’ actually makes a difference and then quantifying that difference. Getting what we say is best practice is difficult to get into policy.  We will create evidential cases to corroborate thought leadership, and use the NLA brand to speak with policymakers.
 
We discussed the current rate of attitudinal change with specific reference to projects in Cambridge, and we defined the ‘Carlsberg Test’ as it relates to our sector. We broadened our field of view to the rest of the UK. I.e., what we are talking about is not London-specific, and our recommendations should be pertinent to urban and rural areas throughout the country. A strong political driver is the economics of a region, and so we discussed transport accessibility and infrastructure as it relates to connecting opportunity areas. We debated the benefits, or not, of opening up high streets to vehicular traffic in order to encourage economic growth. Within that discussion, we raised the spectre of flexible use of roadspace (and subsoil and air space), in accordance with the recent EU research study. We sought to relate transport accessibility to issues of travel poverty, property prices, and economic advantage and disadvantage.
 
What about regulation? We discussed regulatory mechanisms and the need for them. This was particularly relevant in the context of hiring bikes and flying taxis.
 
Our next task is to set up subgroups to gather evidence and quantify our thoughts so that we can make cases for meaningful change in, or acceleration of change in, attitudes and society through design and other influences. 


Mike Axon

Managing Director
SLR Consulting


Transport & Infrastructure

#NLAInfrastructure


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