May 22, 2015

The Changing Face (and Reality) of London

Antje links to this extraordinarily well-illustrated piece in the MailOnline: .

London enters the age of the skyscraper


Around 70 tall buildings are under construction, with nearly 200 more planned – despite London’s reputation and history as a ‘low-rise’ city with just a few skyscrapers concentrated in small pockets.

Cheerleaders say the massive change is the only way to deal with London’s housing crisis by increasing the density of the inner city.

But critics insist the new tower blocks are being built to serve foreign investors who are likely to leave the buildings empty – doing nothing to ease the problems of ordinary Londoners who face soaring rents and house prices.

London 2

This graphic shows how the City of London could look when proposed new skyscrapers are built, after a new report revealed that 263 tall buildings are currently being planned for the UK’s capital.



A projection of how the Southwark area and the banks of the Thames could look when all the new skyscrapers are built.



One Blackfriars, a 50-storey residential tower, pictured from Blackfriars Bridge in an artist’s impression.


Many more here.

Says Antje: “Apparently the new residential high rise apartments are sold to foreign investors by the storey. Many remain empty.”

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  1. I wonder if the following from the article above is true for Vancouver.

    ‘These towers are treated as products to sell to investors, and investors want things like a great view from their window,’ he says. ‘If you go to any of these developments, they always talk about the view.

    ‘If they’re being sold to foreign investors, these are the only bits of London they know – they know Big Ben, they know St Paul’s Cathedral.’

    ‘Most developers don’t want public access – why on earth would they? They trade on the beauty of the views, but what they’re doing is stealing our views, because most of them are either banal or rather ugly.

    – It reminds of the planned Burnaby Brentwood towers with views of the North Shore and downtown, elevators from condo straight down to the Skytrain station, underground parking and Brentwood Mall. No need to ever set foot on Burnaby streets. And why would anybody want to walk near Willingdon or Lougheed (or even worse, cross them) if downtown Vancouver is 10min away by Skytrain?

  2. Sad, each city becomes like every mall around the world: a collection of generic looking product. Of course what the UK should be doing is encouraging the growth of every other city in the UK instead of letting London suck everything into it like a black hole. No wonder the Scots want out.

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