Strategic planning in london in an age of scarcity

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SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP
As one of the leading ‘world cities’, the governance and planning of London generates considerable international interest. London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics focused significant attention on the city, but it is important to study the development of London as a whole as well as the delivery of a single mega-event. In the last decade, London has changed dramatically, the most visible change being the London skyline, with a new host of high-rise buildings – with the recently completed Shard building being, at least for the time being, the highest building in Western Europe. But it is important to look beyond the most visible change and to understand both the successes and failures of London’s governance and spatial planning regimes; to understand the interaction of the recession, representing scarcity of public and private resources, and the scarcity of land imposed by historic but intentionally created spatial planning policies. In 2000, London chose its first directly elected Mayor. For the previous 14 years, London did not have its own directly elected administration and with the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986, was directly managed by Central Government. The 33 lower tier authorities – the 32 London boroughs and the Corporation of the City of London continued to provide local services, but were not in practice strategic authorities. Central Government was responsible for strategic planning guidance and ran some investment programmes directly (for example the Housing Investment Programme through its agency, the Housing Corporation) or allocated capital and revenue resources to the boroughs. The borough-controlled London Planning Advisory Committee could advise the Government but had no statutory basis to publish plans. The establishment of the Mayoralty in 2000 created a new regional executive authority, together with an elected London assembly to act as scrutiny body. The Mayor became the strategic planning authority for London and was also given powers to intervene in specific new developments. The Mayor was also given control of London’s bus and underground network, though not of its surface rail network, and part control of the London Development Agency, the Government’s regional regeneration organisation.
Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity : Reclaiming the Possibility of Making. 3rd AESOP European Urban Summer School 2012, Manchester
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