A profitable way for London architects to spend this (Thursday) morning is in a last minute grub through the mayoral manifestoes. It is always worthwhile to sift these declarations for jobs which might see us through the next down turn (approximately half way through the new mayor's term of office). Visual communication being our professional speciality, we will consider motley imagery first, and content second.
Turning to Norris and Dobson first, we will observe that this is indeed a bullet point-fest. In fact, the overwhelming urge to 'stand out' has meant that in the case of Dobson's somewhat bullish presentation, these are not so much points, as graphic cow-pats.
Looking beyond the superficialities of form, readers will be pleased to note that the last of these highlighted declarations is a brave proposal: 'I will celebrate the capital with a Sunday out for Londoners, with traffic banned from the centre and free museum entry'. Not major architectural works, granted, but bollard and planter opportunities in droves. But wait.
Dobson's bold proposal is not for a weekly day of access, as already adopted in a number of European cities, including Florence. In Dobson's gift for London, Londoners will possess the city for one day in 365. If such is Frank's vision, we may well wonder about his reality.
This is virtually the only manifesto mention that has any bearing on architecture. There is, however, one exception. First on the wish-list of the Natural Law party is 'Rebuild and beautify London using systems of architecture and planning ... eliminating congestion and stress.' While many architects may think they do this already, the Natural Law party has it own ideas, as determined by '10,000 experts in Maharishi Mahesh Yogis Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying'. So the answer to the question, 'Is architecture important to the future of London?' Yogis might fly.