Can City residents and property developers find common ground in Destination City?

Property development in the Square Mile can lead to tensions with residents. Barbican residents have campaigned forcefully against office development on the former site of the Museum of London, and residents on the Middlesex Street estate fought a 24 storey office tower because of overshadowing.

However a recent report from the City Property Association makes me wonder whether there could be some accord down at street level.

The report is called Visualising Destination City and it explores how to support the Corporation’s programme aimed at attracting more visitors to bolster an economy hit by working from home. I’ve taken the slight liberty of creating a flip book from the pdf.

There’s a pitch for more funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy and a plea to speed up decision-making – but I think many other proposals might resonate with residents.

The section on “Mapping the opportunity” by Deborah Saunt is particularly interesting. The illustration shows connections, corridors and pedestrian routes.

The essay says: “The City’s public realm projects, supported by developer contributions, offer calm in previously turbulent streets as well as achieving a safer and more effective balance of priorities between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicle users.

“Imaginative schemes like the new public realm at Farringdon, improvements at Bank Junction and proposals to transform St Paul’s Gyratory have been at the forefront of the City’s urban renaissance, as have the vibrant new cut-throughs and artworks. Meanwhile, improved public realm at Cheapside brings new users and behaviours, restoring a bustling Medieval shop-lined street after the dominance of modern motor traffic.

“In terms of future opportunities, we have looked in particular at where people arrive and then move through the City – the pedestrian and cycle flows. These are strong from stations and bridges along main roads, but also increasingly through myriad backstreets to avoid crowds, which is increasingly popular now via mobile technology.

“By doing so, we are beginning to see the emerging of destinations for the after-hours worker and the tourist, for example, where the latter might choose to walk the short distance between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the riverside Tower of London, scouting great places to stop as they pass through the City, coinciding with the latter’s search for pubs with larger areas of outdoor space for drinkers to gather”.

This chimes with the Footways project that is mapping quiet and interesting routes through London. I’ve developed a couple of maps with Footways in Clerkenwell, and hope to do something in the City. Maybe there’s scope for collaboration.

The meeting with residents on November 7 is an opportunity to explain what the programme will mean for locals as well as visitors. I think the CPA ideas should get a mention … or even better, CPA might run their own event. It would be a good fit with ideas for improving wayfinding that are part of the Destination City programme.

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