Fifteen years after London adopted a directly elected Mayor, the course will unravel how the city is governed, and how the Mayor works through complex layers of local and central government. It will explore how major infrastructure projects like CrossRail, the Congestion Charge and the “Boris bike” system have been funded and implemented. It will describe the loose planning regime of a city enshrined in the London Plan which has led to the rediscovery of the urban skyscraper and promoted a new generation of large-scale, private sector driven developments like Canary Wharf and King’s Cross, as well as the public-sector driven transformation of East London accelerated by the London 2012 Olympics. It will also explain the tensions and challenges posed by an acute housing shortage and increasing inequality amongst its diverse and multi-cultural communities.
Major topics covered:
The operation of London’s city-wide, regional and neighbourhood government arrangements; public-private coalitions; different leadership models; the consequences of particular government systems; the challenge of reform; fiscal autonomy and relations with other tiers of government.
Planning & design
City planning and the city’s image: the London Plan; exemplar projects; design quality; making the city liveable; density vs sprawl; tall buildings, skyline and streetscape; metropolitan vs neighbourhood needs; preserving a balance of land uses; heritage vs modernity; the benefits and challenges posed by private developers in driving redevelopment; London’s Royal Parks and public open space; citizen involvement in planning; the struggle between engineering and design; justifying quality design against other priorities.
The way London assesses the infrastructure it needs; bringing together land use and infrastructure planning (the London Plan and Transport for London’s planning); the development and maintenance of physical infrastructure; planning for London’s rapid population growth; access to private finance; regulation of water, gas, electricity and telecoms utilities; intelligent decision-making and climate change; private competition vs public management.
Transport for London: one of the world’s most powerful city transport agencies; fitting London’s transport policy into the city’s wider planning framework; assessing the appropriate role for private and public transport; planning ahead of population growth; road construction and maintenance; railways, metros and trams; buses and taxis, cycling and walking; the use of fees and charges to provide incentives; the challenge of managing freight and deliveries.
Balancing London’s business and housing needs; sustaining mixed communities in the inner and central areas; managing land costs; subsidising homes for the poor; attracting and managing foreign buyers; density vs sprawl; matching housing to population growth and transport; regeneration of former industrial land and buildings; the economic development of London’s outer boroughs; policies to protect green and other unused land; tax policies.
London government’s role in economic planning; city incentives to encourage new sectors; the evolution of ‘Tech City’ in Shoreditch; The ‘Olympics Effect’ on east London; skills shortages and migration impacts; reputation, brand, marketing and promotion: ‘London & Partners’ as a model; the management of declining sectors and areas; the use of Mayoral Development Corporations; ‘soft’ attributes such as diversity, tolerance and the rule of law; airport policy: how (or whether) to develop more runways around London; staging major sporting and cultural events (Olympics, Wimbledon; Wembley, world cups etc); London’s exhibition centres, theatres, museums and the arts; London’s record in dealing with terrorism, environmental disasters.