London Talks

Can alternative housing ease the crisis?

By Meera Kumar & Zach Jenson When it comes to addressing the housing crisis in London, our current toolkit may be more limited than we think. By basing most of our proposals and ideas on traditional housing models like single-occupancy homes and flats, we fail to consider newer, more disruptive options. These include ideas like cohousing, community land trusts, and other ways of sidestepping the traditional housing market. Not only do these… Read More

What type of growth should we be aiming for?

By Meera Kumar and Zach Jenson In a city like London, it can be easy to take growth for granted at times. Since the early 1990s, the population and economy of the city have grown substantially, putting pressure on housing, transport, and a number of other institutions in the process. While much of this is attributable to extra-national forces like globalisation and technological progress, it doesn’t mean that we are powerless to… Read More

How is gentrification impacting contemporary London?

by Meera Kumar and Zach Jenson Gentrification has been a topic of considerable interest in London for decades now, but over that time the mechanisms by which it shapes the city have continually shifted. Which communities and practices are responsible for the bulk of the gentrifying, and which communities are disproportionately affected? Should we be paying more attention to new-build developments, or the growing trend in buy-to-let? How are people responding to… Read More

Can we grow food on the Green Belt?

London Talks Blog Post by Zach Jenson The Metropolitan Green Belt that surrounds London has always been host to some level of agricultural activity, but in recent years the discussion has intensified around how this land should be used, and whether increased food output should play a role. Is this the best use of the available land? If so, what is the most equitable and valuable way to do so? What kind… Read More

How Does Planning Deregulation Impact Neighbourhoods?

The deregulation of planning has often been touted as the way to get housing built and to make the economy vibrant, ‘We must free the market of needless red tape and liberate it from the vicelike grip of faceless grey bureaucrats’; or so the discourse goes. But what gets lost when we pursue deregulation? Is this always the best way forward to build the communities we want to have? In this London… Read More

London Talks Programme

London Talks Programme (PDF) London is experiencing important changes: the new London Plan, Brexit, the housing crisis, the proliferation of short-term letting and climate change. Many of these issues are not local to London or to the United Kingdom.  Cities across the world are experiencing pressure from increasing house prices, marked increases in short-term letting and the spectre of climate change. Our new seminar series London Talks creates a space to exchange knowledge… Read More

Planning risk and development, our report on planning certainty for RTPI

In late October, Kath Scanlon talked to the Highbury Group about our research undertaken for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) by LSE London and the Bartlett School of Planning (UCL) to the past presidents of the Institute. The report, Planning risk and development: how greater planning certainty would affect residential development, is part of the RTPI’s ‘Better Planning’ programme. The context to this work was the pledge the Government made in… Read More

Challenges of Participation and Representation in Urban Development – Sarah Sackman, Barrister at Francis Taylor Building | Lent Term Seminar

On Monday March 19th, Sarah Sackman, barrister at Francis Taylor Building, talked about participation and representation in urban development. She gave an insight into how the law positions the role of public participation in the planning system. Click here to download the PPT presentation. Addressing the question: “How does the promise of public participation play in reality?”, she presented four claims: The ideal of participation is a disappointment; Public participation is profoundly… Read More

Planning for a Growing London – Alex Williams, Director of City Planning, TfL | Lent Term Seminar

On Monday, Alex Williams, Director of City Planning, Transport for London, gave a presentation on London’s transport strategy. Click here to download PPT presentation. Williams reminded the audience about the role of TfL and the responsibilities of this organisation, which has been around since 2000. Since its implementation, TfL has been an important stakeholder in London’s growth. Indeed, the organisation has expanded its network with several transport modes such as DLR, Santander… Read More

London’s housing challenge – Eloise Shepherd, London Councils | Lent Term Seminar

On Monday, Eloise Shepherd, Head of Housing and Planning Policy at London Councils gave a presentation on housing in London. Shepherd began her talk by noting that there has been a steady resurgence in the private rented sector (PRS) in London with PRS stock up by 50% in some boroughs. The increasing cost of housing overall alongside a diminishing stock of socially rented housing has led to problems with affordability with rents… Read More