This project examined the changing nature of the capital’s centre and set out how the organisation and policies governing the area need to change if it is to retain its global status.
Central London plays many roles. It is the city’s engine and its shop window; a local neighbourhood but also a place where tourists flock, services are traded across the world, and national political decisions are made. But central London is complicated, changing, and its challenges are growing. How can we ensure that this vital district is fit for the future?
Central London is vital to the economic success of both capital and country. The capital’s Central Activities Zone (CAZ) is responsible for one third of London’s jobs, and almost 10 per cent of the UK’s economic output. But it is also home to 230,000 Londoners, and a national and international centre of retail, leisure and tourism. As well as economic success and international renown, the needs of its various users can therefore also bring tensions.
Central London is also changing. Its geography is shifting as new business and commercial centres grow around the edge of the CAZ; an imperfectly-defined area that has already acquired an ‘annex’ to its east at Canary Wharf. Central London’s shops and workspaces are facing dramatic economic and technological change. And its infrastructure is coming under increasing pressure from population and economic growth – including the rapidly-expanding visitor economy.
Most fundamentally perhaps, its administration is split between ten local authorities, the Greater London Authority and central government, and the way it is taxed and funded looks increasingly outdated and incoherent. Against this background, this project provided an overview of the changing nature of the capital’s core and set out how the organisation and policies governing the area need to change if it is to retain its global status.