London First / LEP report on London 2036

January 8th, 2015
London First and the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) have published London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth. This is a report on the future of the London Economy, substantially prepared by McKinsey and Co for London First. It is their report to the LEP.
Some of us went to the launch of this report last night (Myfanwy Taylor, David Fell, Lucy Rogers and Kristina from the East End Trades Guild). We agreed that we should quickly try to assemble some comments and evaluation.
The report itself is a free download, linked from (7.8mb. There is also a 14mb version – presumably higher-resolution – together with a video and some other stuff which they gave us on USB sticks, 101mb total.)
I just had a quick read and have these (purely personal) comments so far:
0.  Preparation of this report seems to have involved massive private sector consultations + Universities + think tanks + other LEPs + London Councils but just one individual Borough. No Trades Unions. No community groups.
1. The first half of the report views economic development as an Olympic sport, the sole aim being to capture as much gold for London as possible. Various component ‘sports’ are considered.  
2. There is then stuff on constraints, weaknesses, problems, threats (including airport capacity which all the speakers yesterday managed not to mention), poor internet, immigration controls, Brexit, £££ for infrastructure. Housing and unemployment end the list.
3. The report improves a bit (from our perspective) as it goes on.
4. There are some references to the need for more housing output though not much on “affordability” except that the word appears (once I think) and that recommendations include relaxing LA borrowing limits (implicitly so they can build). There is mention of publicly-owned land, but mainly implying satisfaction at its disposal. Nothing on losses of social housing or on rents.
5. There is some discussion on location of jobs, fairly defeatist about employment in much of outer London other than in services to residents; very little on losses of employment space, though the issue does get a mention.
5. Finally there is a bit on helping less-skilled Londoners to compete more effectively for jobs. Nothing very interesting there.
6. Usual stuff about London needing to “retain” more of the GDP and tax revenue which it “generates” (Travers etc). Offset by a lot about collaboration with other parts of the country because London’s growth benefits everyone…..
Major omissions:
A. Nothing on wages, inequality, benefits
B. The overall priority of raising GDP/GVA still seen as achievable only by growing the high-productivity sectors and firms; no recognition that output and productivity could be raised in the rest of the economy, or at least retained.
C. Not much on SMEs and that only on start-up and growth funding for expanding tech/cultural firms
D. Nothing on environment (air quality, global warming, floods, green space, greening of activity except one ref to easier home-working)
E. Nothing, of course, on social enterprises, unpaid work etc etc.
I look forward to other people’s comments and/or improvements to the above. As and when some agreed comments emerge, we’ll put them on the Just Space (Economy and Planning) site.
Here is a comment from Richard Brown on the Centre for London blog.

LSE seminar on London housing supply

December 10th, 2014

The trouble with Twitter is it stops me blogging. So for a change here are some notes from a seminar at LSE under HEIF5 today 10 December 2014.  Tony Travers introduction, Nancy Holman summary of how complicated everything is.

[earlier a reminiscence session with Tim Skelton, a retired surveyor who worked for MKDC from 1979 and is writing a book on MK, trying to catch us oldies before we die.  I seem to be one of the few who has memories going back through the whole master planning period.  may add some notes on that.]

Speakers at LSE Cheshire, Tonkiss, Hamnett,Negrini (ex Newham, now Croydon LB) Lammy. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Hall #3 remembered by Nick Jeffrey

October 21st, 2014

This text arrived on 21 October 2014 from Nick Jeffrey who has agreed to it being posted here. Some observations from the celebration  of Peter Hall on 22 October are on Twitter at #peterhall

Peter Hall was a grand teacher.

I was one of the first dozen of Peter’s planning students and completed the MScEcon (Planning Studies) at LSE. I still teach there as an Associate, leading MSc Planning students, as well as first year Geography and Environment students on fieldwork across Docklands.

That initial course in Regional and Urban Planning Studies was pioneering both within planning education and within the LSE. It was taught jointly with the departments of Geography and Economics (Alan Day) and government (Peter Self). 1967/68 was the first and only full year Peter taught the course.  I understood that the initiative for the course came from Emrys Jones and he recruited Peter Hall to put it together and lead it. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Hall #2

September 13th, 2014

I was asked to write a piece on Peter Hall for the (now mainly online) journal Planning in London (ePiL).  This is what I sent in.

Professor Sir Peter Hall died at the end of July after a short illness.  As befits one of the heroes and popularisers of planning at a global scale, obituaries have been appearing in a steady stream and more are surely to come.  This memorial note does not seek to run over the ground so ably covered in the best of these, some of which are listed at the end.

This note is simply an appreciation of Peter Hall’s contribution to the planning of London – and probably an incomplete one. Those who can add to the narrative are urged to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Hall

August 2nd, 2014

Peter Hall died a few days ago and I’m trying here to crystallise my experience of him while it’s in my mind, recording fragments and interpretations which could feed in to any discussion of how we evaluate him, or into any biography anyone writes. Read the rest of this entry »

New London Plan: responses

April 13th, 2014

10 April was the deadline for comments on the new London Plan. The Just Space web site has been active with preparations and now carries (22 and counting) documents submitted by activist groups and individuals.  It’s pretty strong stuff, on the whole, and I hope someone will start summarising it all soon. My interim attempt is on the front page of the JS site now but I hope it will be superseded soon. The main Just Space submission runs to 53 pages and is a very serious and detailed critique, edited together by Richard Lee. Read the rest of this entry »

new London Plan: Assembly Planning Committee

February 26th, 2014

This post is a quick paste-up of material I prepared for yesterday when I was invited to participate as a guest in the Committee’s first consideration of the Further Alterations to the London Plan FALP.  It is not exactly what I said because I wasn’t able to get all the points made, but there will be a webcast and perhaps a transcript later .  Michael Bach from the London Forum was also a guest and he made many very strong and some overlapping points.  I hope he’ll agree to his text going online too. Comprehensive summary in the Twitter stream of Myfanwy Taylor.

The Committee had prepared some questions (shown in bold). Read the rest of this entry »

Winning an award

January 28th, 2014

UCL is giving me a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of its annual awards for “Public Engagement”. The award takes place at 1830h on Tuesday 28th January 2014 when this post should become visible.  They don’t have acceptance speeches at these ceremonies so this is the closest I can get. Read the rest of this entry »

The next (2014) London Plan

December 10th, 2013

20 January 2014 addition: the new Plan is now out. To find it and to follow the story and debates go to the Just Space site   I may, though, add some personal observations on the end of this post.

10 December 2013: I keep having to respond to questions about what the big issues will be when the next London Plan appears for consultation in January.  This is an attempt to write it down systematically. So far it is a purely personal statement and if any of it gets adopted by JustSpace or others then I’ll tell you. And it’s a draft with data and references to be added. Thinking aloud. Read the rest of this entry »

UK – German housing exchanges

December 9th, 2013

9 December 2013:  This message has come in today from Grischa in Berlin:

Dear international friends,

on November 21st we had an event in Berlin with Eileen Short from Defend Council Housing / Anti bedroom tax campaign and Paul Watt from Birkbeck University, both situated in London.

They told us about the housing crisis in England and the biggest anti-cut protests since many years against the bedroom tax. We have documented the event in both English and German, find the links below: Read the rest of this entry »