Boris’s blueprint for London

Niki May Young
Monday 16 Jun 2008

New mayor to launch his grand vision for a livable city...

The “all powerful” new London Mayor, Boris Johnson and his architecture Tsar, Peter Bishop will use this week’s launch of the London Festival of Architecture as a platform to unveil his radical blueprint for London. But could this Grand Strategy for developing a utopian metropolis of the future, formed in just six weeks since his inauguration, simply be a Sarkozy style political “branding exercise” rather than addressing the real and more complex issues of Londoners such as transportation.

It is already well known in architectural circles that the incoming mayor does not share his predecessor’s support of tall buildings, but until now little other detail of his views has been forthcoming. However, indications are that he will unveil a series of initiatives this week aimed at making London a “livable city” to compete with other world cities such as Shanghai and Mumbai.

His far-reaching plans are believed to include; moving Heathrow Airport across London to the Thames Estuary in the east; raising some of the culverted Thames tributaries back to the surface as urban water features; re-building the Skylon, the iconic 1950’s cigar shaped structure; creating traffic-free cycle superhighways; building a riverside promenade on the north side of the Thames (involving taking the traffic underground) and the creation of a tree lined pedestrian boulevard from Primrose Hill in the north to the Embankment via Oxford Circus and Trafalgar Square. Johnson also favours keeping tall buildings in clusters and three locations have already been identified, City, Canary Wharf and Croydon in the South.

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United Kingdom
Urban design

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