The public needs to be better engaged in the debate about urban design in London, given the increasing profusion of tall buildings, according to a report commissioned by developer British Land
The report, produced by property consultant Deloitte Real Estate, sets out number of recommendations to help better plan the future of the capital.
It concluded that there is a ‘widespread view’ that a growing number of skyscrapers, particularly outside central London, is having a detrimental impact on urban character and the skyline.
It said: ‘A stronger and more strategic urban design approach might focus the right type and quality of buildings in places which enhance wider urban character, while encouraging significantly greater densities through compact mid-rise development in strategic areas…
‘The urban design approach could be underpinned by a well-orchestrated and genuine public debate about the future shape of London, including the role and location of tall buildings, and how to achieve high quality places at higher densities.’
Deloitte, which compiled the report after a series of workshops with development experts, also concluded that developers need better training and guidance on the art of placemaking.
It said: ‘Having a good masterplanner and architect engaged on a development team is not enough to ensure that great places are envisioned and realised.
‘It requires high levels of understanding of the physical, cultural, social, economic, institutional and environmental attributes that combine to determine quality of place, plus the commercial value that derives from good placemaking.’
Other recommendations include integrating the London Infrastructure Plan with the London Plan to better coordinate house building and transport development.
London’s mayor should also be given greater influence over strategic planning across the wider South East and East of England, the report said.
In addition, land zoning could provide greater certainty about land values and investment expectations, helping provide more affordable and private rented housing.
John Adams, head of planning at Deloitte, said: ’Through analysing the findings of a series of highly informed debates, we identified a remarkable consensus that London has reached a critical tipping point where bold decisions and interventions are required to create the capital’s future homes and workplaces.’