The Greater London Authority is ready to put three-dimensional masterplanning at the centre of its approach to development in the capital, deputy mayor Nicky Gavron told the AJ last week.
Gavron is in charge of the spatial development strategy at the GLA which will establish a comprehensive planning framework for the capital and said she has already ordered masterplans to be drawn up for a number of areas.
'We are very interested in three-dimensional spatial masterplaning and it is really important that people start examining whole areas, ' she said.
'More masterplanning with local authorities is absolutely what I want to see happening - it is my initiative.'
News of the approach comes after the GLA ordered the refusal of planning permission on a major office scheme just south of Westminster Bridge after attacking its failure to interact adequately with its environs (AJ 22.2.01).
Gavron said that the GLA had been alerted to the lack of masterplanning by recent high-profile planning applications which it has seen, including one for Europe's tallest tower at London Bridge.
'As soon as we received details of that scheme I immediately asked Southwark's director of regeneration, Fred Manson, where is the masterplan?'
Urban design practice Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners has since been appointed by a partnership of three local authorities to draw up a preliminary study of the Pool of London area in anticipation of a full masterplan later in the year.
Meanwhile, the Richard Rogers Partnership is considering investing in an unnamed software house which is developing technology from computer adventure games like Quake to assist the masterplanning process. Sources at RRP said it would be a small investment. The technology has already borne fruit for the practice and helped it win a competition to masterplan a 180ha site in Singapore (AJ 22.2.00).