Press Release

Think tank calls for next London mayor to champion community involvement in urban change

The next Mayor of London should champion community involvement in the way our city is built and managed. This is according to a manifesto published by the capital’s dedicated think tank, Centre for London, ahead of the mayoral election on 6 May 2021.

Read our manifesto

The top-polling mayoral candidates all agree that London needs to keep developing and building new homes, so the manifesto argues, that this process must involve more – and more effective – engagement with Londoners.

Involving local people in decision making about new developments delivers more sustainable and better quality homes and places, that respond to local need and are valued by Londoners.

To champion community involvement in local planning, development and regeneration, the manifesto calls on the mayoral candidates to commit to:

  1. Publishing a draft Mayoral Statement of Community Involvement and establishing Mayoral Community Advocates who can support public involvement at every stage of the process;
  2. Setting up a scorecard to help local councillors assess the quality of community engagement in planning applications and support them to make better decisions;
  3. Developing and launching an accreditation scheme for planners and developers to recognise and reward good public engagement;
  4. Funding a training programme for local authority officers, councillors and community champions to help them work with residents to develop and enhance local plans;
  5. Using place based audits to recognise and value the knowledge and expertise of local people in the planning process.

Claire Harding, Research Director at Centre for London said:

“Every Londoner should be able to have a genuine say in what happens in their local area. But this doesn’t mean development needs to be slower or stunted.

“Our manifesto shows that engaging Londoners early on in the planning process, making use of local knowledge, and valuing our city’s diversity would help the next Mayor build back better, greener and stronger.”

Clare Richards, Director at ftwork and Co-Founder of Collective Community Action, said:

“Our next Mayor must ensure that future development involves Londoners. The experience and opinions of those who live and work in a community represent its unique character and its capacity for change and growth.

“Only by working with them to deliver a shared vision can we build trust, a joint sense of agency and a thriving city.”


Notes to Editors

  • This project has been delivered in collaboration with Collective Community Action, a cross-industry network of citizens, consultants, educators and built environment professionals working to advance the role that communities play in shaping London.
  • This project has been delivered in partnership with ftwork, a non-profit organisation, working to create thriving communities and ensure clear social principles underpin development within the built environment.