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A doubling of efforts to save London from the density drain

What are we doing to put things right, and how far have we got? Well, for a start, almost 30 per cent of central London is now 'certified full', according to the 106 'signs of life' criteria of the Urban Task Force inspectorate. At the same time, another 20 per cent will be 'comfortably into the cramming red zone' in time for a May general election. In fact, apart from a little mopping up operation that we will come to shortly, London as a whole is on track to being able to bid for the coveted title of 'Urban Parc Ferme 2005' with a fair certainty of success.

In no small measure this tremendous result has been, and will be, achieved through the tremendous productivity of the architectural profession, and its unswerving dedication to DDDA (Double Density? Double Again! ), the slogan that guides urban policy here, there and everywhere today.

In recognition of this tremendous professional contribution we have decided to increase the frequency of the annual televised £20,000 Crawler prize to a monthly event, complete with a slap-up feed, free drinks and appropriate cameo-celebrity appearances, all in the interest of raising public awareness of the huge contribution architecture has made to civilization as we know it.

But we don't just want to praise 4,000 years of tradition. We want to back new technology too. That is why nowadays up to 40 per cent of all architectural presentations already feature visualisations, animations, threedimensional computer models, walk throughs, fly throughs, photomontages, outsourced renderings, flash movies and multimedia games.

We understand the human side of dehumanisation, and we intend to keep our promise that whenever you hear one of our architects stand up to speak at a meeting, you can be sure that he or she will not only repeat the terms 'awareness', 'appropriate' and '24/7' over and over again, but - at no extra cost - throw in 'focus', 'issues', 'missioncritical', 'partnering', 'sharing', 'sympathy', 'understanding', 'value' and 'beacon' as well.

Proof, if proof were needed, that we are responding to the profession's loyalty to the issues can not only be seen in the 50 per cent drop in how-the-disaster-happened picture stories in the Sunday Times, but also in the fact that more than 60 per cent of the architectural practices subjected to random police checks for compliance with the new 'designing out crime' guidelines, have been awarded artist-designed 'harmless practice' stickers bearing the slogan: 'Welcome, wilkommen, bienvenue bon gendarme, we have nothing to hide.'

But is this enough? Well, of course it isn't. The brutal truth is that, despite all our efforts, yet another 100,000 commuters have stopped coming into London in the past month. So it is for these backsliders that we have reserved the biggest prize of all - a task force of 15,000 specially trained architects working 24/7 to correct every case of 'inappropriate', 'insensitive' and, worst of all, 'questionable' development in their own little rural backyards.

These specially trained architects are going to work off Domesday Book-style village lists, compiled by focus groups of embittered human rights experts.

That will get them back on the 6.45am for London Bridge, you bet!

But we are not heartless.We know that however many times we say we are sorry, it does not make things better and it is never enough. In the end it is not our actions, but our words that make the real difference. That is why 'brimming London's tank' is going to take much longer than any of us can imagine. You can count on us to keep on talking as fast and as long as we are able, but we can't stop the situation from changing all the time.

So for up to the minute information visit our website: www. little. red. train. chuffety. chuff. co. uk

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