It’s time for us to come back to London. I mean this in terms of returning our energy, passion, and overall investment towards the capital after what has felt like a steady downward reputational and experiential turn. London has changed dramatically over the past decade. Only having just emerged from the global financial crisis, it then fell prey to Brexit, a global pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis, and a European war – all of which have been backdropped by the gravity of an ongoing climate crisis.
But London has always overwhelmingly been a force for good. Chiefly, it is a force for bringing people from all over the planet together, uniting them in a shared vitality for everything the city represents: mobility, intellect, innovation, cultural richness, and above all, an enduring ambition for equity.
The NLA Sounding Boards have reconvened with a focus on exactly that – understanding how the capital and those who shape it can continue to define what equity looks like for this city. Across the world, ‘equity’ has become a leading priority for cities, London is no different.
As city-makers, our priorities to decarbonise, digitalise and respond to profound inequalities in health, equity and opportunity must be met with collaborative, multi-disciplinary and joined-up leadership that transcends political cycles, and that put us in good stead to weather the next crisis when it inevitably comes.
Over the next coming years, the boards’ focus will be to gather knowledge and articulate guidance for what will be the New London Agenda – an initiative that will outline the priorities, potential and promise held within the future of the capital.
To do this, the New London Agenda will be composed by a freshly reformed New London Sounding Board of 29 members, each of whom embody the talent, fortitude and vision that London so wholly represents. I am so honoured to chair this panel, which is made up of formidable, multidisciplinary experts all of whom are both thinkers and doers, and whose voices have been lent to some of London’s most important urban achievements in recent history.
I am especially proud of the panel’s diversity and breadth of expertise – we have leaders in transport, development, infrastructure, planning, and regeneration amongst, other fields – all of which will be brought to a series of conversations we hope will be significant in helping map out possible trajectories for London.
As such, the New London Agenda will set out a vision for how all those involved in city making can take collective responsibility, provide clarity and build trust to create the very best city of the future. We are eager to explore these three themes with a panel that is made up of people who are working at granular levels to bring forward ideas on how London can continually improve in tackling prevalent inequalities in health, equity and opportunity.
We are not suggesting that this panel will be able to speak as the voice of Londoners, and are mindful of putting forward strategies that in turn engender the participation of the widest pool of perspectives possible. Together with the strength of the NLA membership, we hope that through the New Sounding Board we can offer evermore diverse viewpoints, consolidated into a clear set of recommendations that the built environment, and the people who make it, can fully get behind.