New London Architecture

Tall Buildings

London is a relatively low-density city if compared with other European capitals such as Paris and Madrid. Yet, the increasing pressure to accommodate a growing population, expected to reach over 11 million people by 2050, and the commitment to contain the sprawl within the Green Belt, prompts the need to re-think how to make better use of the scarce amount of land available – ‘if we can’t build out, we need to build up’. 

In the Insight Study ‘London’s Growing UP!’, the first NLA annual London Tall Buildings Survey published in 2014, it was showed for the first time how some areas of London were seeing an increasing number of tall buildings of 20 stories or more as a response to densification, with 236 towers in the pipeline. At the same time, concerns have grown, from both local communities and professionals, over the quality of design of these new towers, as well as on the need to protect London’s rich historic heritage, with questions related to where new clusters of tall buildings would be appropriate.

With latest figures showing a continued growth of the pipeline, up to 455 in 2017, challenges on the planning system are increasing: Do we have the appropriate tools to ensure tall buildings are in the right place, of good quality and contribute to housing need? How tall buildings contribute to the streetscape, providing good quality public realm as part of their developments? Should we develop a 3D digital planning system for the whole of London to improve the assessment and impact of tall buildings? 

The pioneering role of NLA research on tall buildings delivers up-to-date figures and analysis and a year-round programme inviting industry experts and the public to discuss one of the capital’s most debated topic. 

Key themes

  • London’s Tall Buildings pipeline - annual update
  • Densification of town centres in outer London / new tall buildings clusters
  • Smart planning and 3D models for tall buildings
  • Design quality and streetscape’s impact of tall buildings

Programme Champion

Knight Frank

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