London Mayor sets out ambitious plans for Capital’s growth and reinvention

London Mayor sets out ambitious plans for Capital’s growth and reinvention

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is today launching an ambitious plan aimed at creating 150,000 high-quality, well-paid jobs by 2028. This initiative will be unveiled alongside the shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves. Reeves will say that a Labour administration intends to reset the relationship between the national government and London, while Khan thinks what is good for London is good for the UK. More →

Major built environment institutes renew joint pledge to tackle global instability as cities boom 

Major built environment institutes renew joint pledge to tackle global instability as cities boom 

major built environment professional institutes, including architects, planners, structural engineers and landscape practitioners, have renewed their joint pledge to collaborate to tackle urgent global challengesWith almost 70 percent of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by 2050, major built environment professional institutes, including architects, planners, structural engineers and landscape practitioners, have renewed their joint pledge to collaborate to tackle urgent global challenges. Members of the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG), a group first launched in 2016 comprising the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Landscape Institute (LI), have committed to work together for at least another 5 years.  More →

Memories of the Office Age 

Memories of the Office Age 

memories of the office ageNo author uses the built environment like J G Ballard. In his 1975 novel High-Rise, the eponymous structure is both a way of isolating the group of people who live and compete inside it and a metaphor for their personal isolation and inner struggles. Over the course of three months, the building’s services begin to fail. The 2,000 people within, detached from external realities in the 40-storey building, confronted with their true selves and those of their neighbours, descend into selfishness and – ultimately – savagery.  More →

Cities worldwide are grappling with the delicate balance between nighttime charm and sustainability

Cities worldwide are grappling with the delicate balance between nighttime charm and sustainability

Cities worldwide, from London to Sydney, are grappling with the delicate balance between nighttime charm and prioritising sustainability. As well as the delights of daytime, cities around the world have long been defined by how their iconic landmarks come to life at night. Think of London’s illuminated riverside or Amsterdam’s canals lit up after dark. These vistas almost come to be synonymous with these places’ very identities. Aston Woodward, co-founder of asset management firm Oxygen also brings one of Australia’s best-known destinations into the mix. “Well-lit buildings at night in any city are attractive. Sydney is a good example and at night is dramatic. Many tourists as well as residents sit and admire a variety of size and colour and interactions generated from the buildings’ lighting.” More →

Regional divides, falling incomes, booming jobs markets; and lower productivity. The current state of the UK

Regional divides, falling incomes, booming jobs markets; and lower productivity. The current state of the UK

No part of the UK has escaped the impact of a flatlining economy and falling productivity since 2010, according to new analysisNo part of the UK has escaped the impact of the flatlining of the UK economy since 2010, according to new analysis published by the Centre for Cities in its Cities Outlook 2024 report. At the national level, people have been left with £10,200 less to spend or save on average since 2010 than if the economy had grown at pre-2010 trends. The report also suggests that a marked rise in employment has happened in parallel with overall falling productivity. More →

Manchester is now a major draw for office design firms

Manchester is now a major draw for office design firms

Way before the lockdown rewired the whole events scene in cities around the world, I was given a task by an old, now departed, friend. He wanted to explore the possibility of creating something like Clerkenwell Design Week in Manchester. The obvious problem was that, for some of its historic parallels, Manchester isn’t Clerkenwell and it certainly isn’t London. What it particularly lacked for this type of event was a hothouse of office design showrooms sharing space with a youthful community of architects and designers. The ecosystem for such an event didn’t really exist in the same way. More →

Canary in the coal mine: other business districts are watching what happens next for Canary Wharf

Canary in the coal mine: other business districts are watching what happens next for Canary Wharf

Already the symbol of a bygone era, Canary Wharf runs the risk of becoming a relic unless it reinvents itself. And others are watching The first casualties of the already cliched injunction to make offices worth the commute were always going to be the world’s most inaccessible business districts. In the UK the most high profile of these is Canary Wharf, 52 hectares of former wasteland in East London that became a financial powerhouse. Part of the regeneration of the area that began in the 1980s, it became synonymous with the era and with Margaret Thatcher and her reform of the financial services sector. This came to pass even though its most iconic structure One Canada Square was only completed in 1990, shortly after she had left office and shortly before its developer filed for bankruptcy. More →

Investment and new powers essential to unleash the vast potential of UK cities

Investment and new powers essential to unleash the vast potential of UK cities

Unleashing the potential of the UK’s cities is critical to boost growth, repair their social fabric and meet our net zero targets according to a new reportUnleashing the potential of the UK’s cities is critical to boost growth, repair their social fabric and meet our net zero targets according to a new report, produced in partnership between the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and Core Cities UK. The report calls on the government to move away from the current trend of short-termism, witnessed in recent weeks in debates on HS2, net zero and the future of local government. More →

Digital nomads are starting to price out local communities around the world

Digital nomads are starting to price out local communities around the world

Remote working: how a surge in digital nomads is pricing out local communities around the world. For eight years I have studied digital nomadism, the millennial trend for working remotely from anywhere around the world. I am often asked if digital nomads are driving gentrification. Before COVID upended the way we work, I would usually tell journalists that the numbers were too small for a definitive answer. Most digital nomads were travelling and working illegally on tourist visas. It was a niche phenomenon. Three years into the pandemic, however, I am no longer sure. More →

Urban design can make people less likely to use public spaces

Urban design can make people less likely to use public spaces

urban designUrban design campaigns are usually sold to local residents as a way to improve their daily lives. Design elements – from lighting systems to signs, benches, bollards, fountains and planters, and sometimes even surveillance equipment – are used to refurbish and embellish public spaces. Designers refer to these elements as “urban furniture”. And the projects they’re used in are usually aimed at increasing social interaction, heightening safety, improving accessibility and generally making life in the city better. More →

Zürich named as world’s leading smart city in list dominated by Asia and Europe

Zürich named as world’s leading smart city in list dominated by Asia and Europe

Zürich has been named as the world’s leading smart city according to the latest annual Smart City Index published by IMD business schoolZürich has been named as the world’s leading smart city according to the latest annual Smart City Index published by IMD business school. Asian and European cities dominate this year’s top twenty. Among them, IMD names six “super champions” because they have been continuously improving their performance since 2019: Zürich, Oslo, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong. More →

Public transport makes commuting easier and boosts the labour market

Public transport makes commuting easier and boosts the labour market

commuters and public transportFollowing losses of £1.5bn in annual fare revenues incurred during the pandemic, Transport for London recently signed a deal with the UK government for emergency funding. The agreement ensures that new train orders, bridge repairs and tube upgrades will continue as planned. It also will lead to public transport fares rising and bus services being cut. While the Elizabeth Line, a £19 billion east-west addition to the London Underground, opened to great fanfare in May 2022, this year has also seen some of the oldest bus routes in the UK axed: including route 144 between Worcester and Birmingham, route 477 between Dartford and Orpington, and route 84 between north London and Hertfordshire. At least 135 bus routes countrywide currently face cutbacks or permanent cancellation. More →