Working with leaders from across London, including the Mayor, London’s boroughs, national government, businesses, universities, charities and community groups we’re undertaking an ambitious, multi-year strategic review of the city to shape London’s future to 2050 and beyond.
The London Futures review is a once in a generation opportunity to take a long term, strategic approach to the city. It will examine the state of London today, explore different scenarios for London’s future and involve Londoners in creating a new shared vision for the city.
Like good businesses, cities with a strong vision of their future thrive. London has prospered in recent decades, in part because the city’s leaders developed a new consensus of what London should be. New governance, a growing globally connected population, smarter businesses, better transport, and neighbourhood renewal followed, alongside much envied innovations like the Congestion Charge and the Oyster Card. With flourishing and diverse communities, and a cultural reach almost without equal, London’s reputation consolidated as top rank ‘world city’.
Now though, London is at a crossroads. Coronavirus has upended much of what was assumed about London’s immediate future. What impact will the pandemic have on the lives and life chances of Londoners, especially the already disadvantaged? Will London’s economy recover?
London has also long suffered from issues including widespread poverty, inequality, discrimination, homelessness and terrorism. And the national and global picture was already evolving too. The climate emergency is intensifying. There’s an apparent backlash against globalisation, alongside the continued rise of Asia. Brexit. A rapidly ageing world. New technologies and services popping up and being adopted increasingly quickly. What will this all mean for London over the coming decades? London is also now 20 years into its mayoralty but devolution of additional power and resources to the city seems to have stalled.
London lacks a shared vision for the future that balances and navigates these pressures, and makes a better case for the capital. What do Londoners want the London of the future to be like? What should the city’s priorities be?
And how far ahead should we plan for? There are many possible overlapping ‘futures’. The recovery from COVID-19 could well take years; the ambition to get to net zero by 2030; and the infrastructure we might need to plan for to sustain the city in 2050 and beyond. These are questions that need deep reflection, an honest discussion of what might be possible, and consideration of the trade–offs.
To address these issues, Centre for London is embarking on an ambitious programme to shape London’s future. In partnership with London’s leading organisations, including the Mayor, London’s boroughs, national government, businesses, charities and universities, this multi-year programme will examine the state of London today, explore possible futures, and create a shared vision for London to 2050 and beyond with Londoners. It will deliver a new narrative for London, for London’s role in the UK, and London’s position in the world.
The first report from the review, London at a crossroads, was published in September 2020. Improving a city is a slow, painstaking process. Over the next year, Centre for London will work with partners to create a shared vision with Londoners of the London they want to see. To help us begin to shape a new consensus for London’s future, we need to hear your views.