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London mayor’s design advocates to look at Oxford Street redesign

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Sadiq Khan’s 50 new design advocates have been asked to look at the potential redesign of Oxford Street and ways to improve how architects are chosen for projects 

Jules Pipe, the deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, outlined the first tasks for the mayor’s design advocates (MDAs) during an induction at City Hall yesterday (11 September).

‘I’m pleased to announce that the inaugural review will consider the internationally important redesign of Oxford Street,’ he said. ‘And I’d like to say a big thank you to the MDAs [who] have mobilised quickly to assist us with this.’

The pedestrianisation of London’s most famous shopping street was among the pledges made by Khan during his election campaign last year, as part of a strategy to tackle air pollution.

Over the years, various planners and architects have looked at the overhaul of Oxford Street, including the late Bryan Avery who drew up unrealised plans for an ‘overpass’ accessed via short concealed ramps, running from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, with laminated glass on the underside and supported by polished stainless-steel columns.

Further details of the MDAs’ proposals are expected to be announced over the coming weeks.

At the induction, Pipe also spoke about how access to new Greater London Authority (GLA) work could be improved. ’We will develop procurement approaches for the GLA Group, and beyond, to get the best design talent involved in development,’ he said. ‘Not only internationally renowned stars but emerging talent, acknowledging that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to procurement.

‘We [also] want to raise the bar for design review. As part of this we are establishing a new panel called the London Review Panel.’ 

Khan unveiled his 50 MDAs – a mix of architects, clients and other design experts – in July as part of his Good Growth by Design initiative, which will provide design guidance to City Hall and London councils.

The MDAs, of which 50 per cent are women and a quarter are from BAME backgrounds, include David Adjaye, Alison Brooks, Elsie Owusu and Sadie Morgan. 

Pipe also said that the six-strand programme would make recommendations to address ‘the woeful under-representation of women, people of black, Asian or minority ethnicities and disabled people within the built environment’, as well as ‘reviewing London’s housing design standards’ and ‘analysing the big data that drives TfL’s decision making’.

He added that the advocates will build a ‘place-shaping capacity’ in the fields of planning urban design, architecture, engineering conservation, project management and community engagement within London’s local authorities. 

The MDAs also feature a number of figures who served on former mayor Boris Johnson’s Design Advisory Group, including Roger Hawkins of Hawkins\Brown, former RIBA president Sunand Prasad and chairman of New London Architecture Peter Murray.

Pipe insisted the MDAs would ‘champion this sector and role in creating good growth, highlighting best practice and widening the conversation about how our city should change’. 

The AJ understands that the new programme will involve the MDAs meeting around once every six months. 

Full list of design advocates

  • David Adjaye
  • Hiro Aso
  • Joanna Averley
  • RachelBagenal
  • Clara Bagenal George
  • Claire Bennie
  • Dinah Bornat
  • Andy von Bradsky
  • Alison Brooks
  • Adam Brown
  • Peter Coleman
  • Russell Curtis
  • John Dales
  • Irene Djao-Rakitine
  • Alex Ely
  • LizaFior
  • Kathryn Firth
  • Daisy Froud
  • Alice Fung
  • Roger Hawkins
  • Wayne Hemingway
  • Dan Hill
  • Tom Holbrook
  • Rory Hyde
  • Indy Johar
  • Dipa Joshi
  • Paul Karakusevic
  • Adam Khan
  • Lynn Kinnear
  • Vincent Lacovara
  • Richard Lavington
  • Christopher Lee
  • Julian Lewis
  • Holly Lewis
  • Laura Mazzeo
  • Sadie Morgan
  • Peter Murray
  • Lucy Musgrave
  • Fabienne Nicholas
  • David Ogunmuyiwa
  • Elsie Owusu
  • Julia Park
  • Sowmya Parthasarathy
  • Manisha Patel
  • SunandPrasad
  • Hilary Satchwell
  • Monica von Schmalensee
  • Fiona Scott
  • Neil Smith
  • Maria Smith
  • PalomaStrelitz
  • David West 
  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • When it comes to 'pedestrianising' Oxford Street I suggest learning from Jan Gehl not Las Vegas. Good luck - you will need it.

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  • Mr Pevsner

    Design advocates? I'm retired now but we never had design advocates in my day. I don't recognise any of the names on the list and so got my grand- daughter to google a few- there's a shoe designer and marketing person on the panel - how is that going to help Oxford St unless you wanted to a number on Clarks Shoes ?

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