Has there ever been an election where housing (or the lack of it) has been so high on the agenda?
There can be no questioning of the fact that the current young generations are having things much more difficult when it comes to affording homes whether it be owning them or renting them and whilst this is in general a national problem the issue is highly acute in London. This week Lord Adonis, Yolanda Barnes, Richard Rogers and the brilliant but sadly departed urban planner Sir Peter Hall contributed to some essays which included discussions around London increasing its density via well planned "city villages".
I have been following and working on some planning aspects of the Greenwich Peninsula since the Ralph Erskine Greenwich Millennium Village first came out of the ground 15 years ago and since the early burst of activity until fairly recently things have been painfully slow.
In late 2014, the developer Knight Dragon took control of much of the remaining development space on the Peninsula and are planning more than 10,000 homes over the next 15 years or so. This will make Greenwich Peninsula the size of an average sized town. But will it be the kind of liveable, sustainable "city village "that the great and the good of planning and urban design are calling for?
Well the signs are good, there is already great public transport (and even a TFL run cable car across the Thames). There is a major entertainment complex in the O2. There is a myriad of restaurants and bars, offices and a great design led university in a striking building, Ravensbourne.
And Knight Dragon are embracing design, working with designers such as Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio and Conran & Partners alongside artists including NOW Gallery's roster of exhibitions, Lazarides Editions Print Workshop and a forthcoming commission by Conrad Shawcross . A new public garden designed by Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio, Alys Fowler and Thomas Hoblyn will be launched on Sunday 10 May of which I am curating a new and free annual festival the Urban Village Fete - a contemporary twist on the tradition Fete showcasing the best in design with a curated marketplace and a strong offering of family workshops, entertainment, food and art - there will be something for everyone!
There will be a significant proportion of affordable housing on the Peninsula and rental products will also be available.
At the Greenwich Peninsula maybe London is creating a template for creating large scale "city villages" on former industrial land that can start to address the severe housing issues that are blighting a generation?
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