The London Society is hosting a debate on this subject, chaired by the BBC's Mark Easton, with the title #CantPayWontStay on 14 April. The event is a sell-out, but the Society's paper, 'Building Greater London' can be downloaded here:
1) Building Greater London requires a complete overhaul of the governance of an area that extends well beyond the boundaries of the present GLA area.
2) The London Society is promoting a Royal Commission to consider appropriate mechanisms for UK’s City regions alongside the rapidly emerging devolution agenda.
3) We should re-assert the primacy of the Green Belt, refine the policies that protect it, invest in it to improve its biodiversity and improve access to it for Londoners.
4) This requires city leadership with a purpose and a plan to deliver diverse housing in a sustainable context of the kind London’s citizens want - a plan for delivery, not just a spatial one.
5) A century after the London Society first proposed it, we should finish off the ragged fringe of London neatly with groups of ‘new and seemly buildings’, particularly where arterial routes cut across the green and enter London.
6) The vision should embrace the concept of collective responsibility and shared ownership of the capital’s precious assets.
7) The Mayor’s Private Rented Covenant exemplifies how management might be regulated in such a way as to enable the sharing of resources, including space, and simultaneously open the door to more diversity in ways of living available to Londoners.
8) The Mayoralty would thus be in a position to promote and encourage diverse, not standard, solutions to Londoners’ housing needs, as others have done in Melbourne, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, New York and in the port city of Iquique, Chile, examples which are illustrated in the paper.
9) Such a diversity would be an appropriate response to the lively entrepreneurial and culturally inventive mix that has come to be such an attractive feature of contemporary London life.
I shall argue that the capital is in danger of becoming a city of rentiers, with unheard of windfalls accruing to a few landowners, unless we strengthen the governance of the city with devolved powers of tax and spend, including a levy on land value, and promote a much more diverse housing offer.
Managing Partner, HTA Design LLP
Chair, The Housing Forum.