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London 'world city' status under threat

The London skyline
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The scale of development needed for London to keep face with the city’s growth is being underestimated, according to a new report  

London faces a more unequal society, an unbalanced economy and a degradation of its natural environment over the coming decades unless there is greater investment in development and infrastructure, according to a report.

Future Proofing London produced by Atkins in partnership with Oxford Economics and Centre for London found the amount of development needed to keep pace with the city’s growth is being greatly underestimated.

The study forecasts London’s population will reach 12 million by 2050, not the 11.3 million projected in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) London Infrastructure Plan. The GLA also predicts there to be 6.3 million workers in the capital at this time, but the report states this number will be reached in 2026. If the current rate of house building continues at 26,000 homes annually, the south east will be left with a shortfall of 1.5 million by 2050.

Atkins has proposed a range of solutions, including building orbital rail links and cycle super highways to connect outer London centres and densifying the suburbs.

Atkins’ director for London Mike McNicholas said: ‘London’s position as one of the world’s leading cities is in real danger of slipping. The GLA is working hard to move us in the right direction but few would disagree there is still a lot more that needs to be done if we want to tackle the challenges facing London. It’s vital that we keep on top of evolving trends and update our plans to deal with them otherwise the infrastructure will not be developed at the right rate, or crucially in the right way, over the next few decades.’

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