Adrian Miles joined the NLA and Urbed for a round table debate discussing lessons that can be learnt from looking at urban design best practice in London and Paris. What emerged is that confidence in public sector-led investment is much higher in France than here in the UK. This is underpinned not only by cultural traditions but by well-resourced institutions such as a state investment bank which allows joint ventures between municipalities, infrastructure and private developers to flourish.
This allows risk to be managed and for urban design to put public benefit and public open space at the heart of developments, giving private investors confidence to participate in further development.
Paris is twice as dense as London, however suffers from an inheritance of suburban development which creates a steeper drop-off in terms of employment, wealth and infrastructure away from its core. However joined up thinking is allowing strategic investment to pay dividends, e.g. with the creation of a circular tramway linking the ends of all radial train networks.
London needs to build on the successes of its business core and disperse employment opportunities not only by attracting investment in more diverse locations but further improving transport to allow its dispersed population to increase its social and economic potential.
Further information can be found on the New London Architecture website and at www.urbed.com
Avanti attends London - Paris symposium