International
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The IFHP Travel Squad reports from London

The IFHP Travel Squad is on their way to London.

The IFHP Travel Squad is on their way to London. Stay tuned from Wednesday 15th of January 2013.

The IFHP Travel Squad is on their way to London to draw attention to some things that London will have to plan in the short and long term. The IFHP Travel Squad will be reporting from London from January 15th - February 15th.

London: a history of strong governance
‘I want London to have the best of both worlds. I want London to be the best big city on earth’, Mayor of London Boris Johnson states in the foreword of the London Plan 2009-2012. A plan that looks forward to 2031, five years further than the 2008 version, and draw on past experience, to pick out some things that London will have to plan for today and tomorrow.

The 2000-year history of London has been one of constant change. The city has transformed from a port and river point into a megacity of national Government and international commerce. London has been an imperial capital, and it has been home for people from all parts of the world. London was strongly involved in the industrial, scientific, and technological revolution.  Several times in the past London has fought off disaster and resisted the best efforts of planners to reconstruct it.

Looking at London today, the most striking fact about the city is that it is growing in size, masse, and in density. After decades in which the British capital - like every other European and North America City - was growing like a doughnut - London has turned around. From being the model city of the doughnut -effect, describing the anatomy of an empty city center and a heavily populated inner and outer fringe, the forecast now point to a sustained and substantial population increase, much of it through migration.

This transformation is both reflected in, and in part the product of, a transformed system of city governnance for Greater London. After at least two decades of drift, unregulated sprawl, and ambiguity, London as an urban network, now has a clear focus of power . One could say that this development is the most concrete and amazing manifestation of Tony Blair's local-government reform. And combined with Ken Livingstone's push for policies to boost the city's role in the global economy from 2000, London's facelift and new leading position among the global cities, represent a story of succeed local governance that does not exist elsewhere . 

London has stopped believing that carefully considered planning strategies are possible, which makes the city's spatial, transport, and housing policies appear so strikingly different from past strategies. For London, its legacy issues are just as important as the actual plans and projects. Learning from city's like Barcelona, Livingstone's intention with bring the Olympics to East London was all about using the Game as a catalyst for development in London's bleak eastern fringe.

Stay tuned
There is no doubt that London has undergone a mayor transformation since the Blair administration's reforms and Livingstone's planning strategies. The IFHP Travel Squad will be reporting from London from January 15th - February 15th, and thorugh blog entries and interviews uncover the strategies and stories behind London's success (and failures) focusing on its new Plan and on the legacy of the Olympics amongst others. So, stay tuned for the latest news from London Town and the Olympic site, brought directly to you by the Travel Squad at the IFHP Blog.

>> Download the entire London Plan

The IFHP Travel Squad in London:
Signe Cecilie Jochumsen, Cand.mag, Project Officer, scj@dac.dk
Søren Smidt-Jensen, PhD, Senior Project Manager, ssj@dac.dk