The Future of East London (2)

In looking back at the photographs I submitted for The Future of London, I realise that their message is wilfully opaque.   So, it is may be worth trying to spell it out:-

1.  It’s obvious, looking particularly at the development of Stratford and Woolwich and the opening of Crossrail next year, that there is an ineluctable drift eastwards, beyond the River Lea, as Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow are gentrified and people recognise the quality of the housing stock in places like Ilford.

2.  There are still large areas of east London with ex-industrial, brownfield sites, particularly evident when travelling on the Docklands Light Railway out to City Airport.

3.  The model adopted by the LDDC of government funded investment in infrastructure was, in retrospect, strikingly successful in developing the Isle of Dogs and opening up the docks beyond.

4.  The problem of leaving development to developers is that they concentrate on the top end of the market of apartment blocks which are then sold to the international market for investment purposes, not on smaller-scale and more socially beneficial housing schemes.   It surely ought to be possible for Sadiq Khan to influence the planning system to privilege middle-market and mixed development housing schemes, instead of allowing big developers to cheat the system, as in Vauxhall.

5.  I am in favour of infill and niche development, as advocated by Roger Zogolovitch, and so-called densification, rather pillaging the green belt, as many are advocating.

6.  These recipes for future development probably aren’t very different from what Richard Rogers and Mark Fisher advocated in A New London, published in 1992.   This doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

7.  I am ending by posting two pictures I took earlier this month out on Gallions Point, one of a big new housing scheme, not beautiful perhaps, but not bad either; and the other of the river stretching east across the landscape of the old gasworks.   There’s plenty of room for growth, if only it can be imaginatively managed:-


2 thoughts on “The Future of East London (2)

  1. It is, as you say, not very different from what Richard Rogers and I proposed in A NEW LONDON in 1992.

    But, in advocating the development of East London, we urged the development of the River – specifically a riparian Park, running from Kew in the west to the Barrage in the east. And, crucially, we wanted to see affordable, sustainable, housing. Instead what we’ve ended up with is , at best, a String of Pearls : some wonderful sections but far too many high rise, high cost riverside apartments.

    The River itself, which is one of the most wonderful elements of the city, still is cold shouldered by the city, with almost nowhere you can sit by, or eat by, the River.

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