How would Londoners plan London?


Developer-led planning in London is exacerbating inequality

Some ideas for a more just city, by Richard Lee

Just Space is a city-wide network that brings together a wide range of community groups, from the London Tenants Federation to Hayes Community Development Forum and special interest local campaigns like Friends of Queen’s Market. Eighty-five different community organisations have contributed to our recently published community-led plan for London.

Just Space sees an urgent need to re-balance a system in which developer-led planning dominates, with detrimental impacts on the majority of Londoners. Many people from working class communities and minority ethnic groups, as well as the disabled, young and unemployed, and many social and private tenants, are, in diverse ways, disadvantaged by London’s development model.

Conventional measurements of London’s economic growth, by wealth generated in the financial system and land-owning and property sectors, disregard London’s worsening environmental conditions and the damaging increase in inequality across the city. Our plan proposes new indicators for measuring London’s economic success, such as measuring the percentage of the labour force with a job that pays at least the London Living Wage.

Just Space believes deep changes are needed in the governance of the city and proposes as a starting point that the mayor put in place a programme of effective, meaningful and continuous engagement that enables Londoners to work with the mayor and officers in a spirit of co-operation and in co-production of the new London plan.

The Just Space publication provides detailed proposals for a just city, based on the principles of fairness, recognition, inclusion and sustainability. They include:

  • Industrial land should not be targeted for housing development
  • Existing homes should be maintained and refurbished rather than knocked them down. Existing social rented homes should be protected.
  • Make home energy efficiency a priority, upgrading all existing London homes to B or C on an Energy Performance Certificate.
  • A London housing bill to give the mayor powers to bring housing reform in London, such as city-wide rent control for private renters and mandatory landlord licensing across London.
  • Strong road traffic reduction targets and road user charging to tackle congestion and pollution and with the revenue used to support affordable and accessible public transport.
  • Developers to be required to look at rainwater harvesting as a solution to water shortages in London
  • Social impact assessments should be undertaken to measure the impact of development proposals on existing residents and businesses in a neighbourhood.


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