London to invest £220 million in public spaces

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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson announced recently his vision to transform London’s public spaces and create beautifully designed oases throughout the capital’s urban jungle. Over the next three years, in excess of £220 million will be invested in over 50 public space projects, ranging from redesigned streets to reclaimed green spaces and waterways.

The Mayor stated that “If you Google our city with a satellite map you will see how the world beneath you is divided into two categories. There is private space – that is, homes and gardens occupied by individuals and their families. However, more than half of the London landscape is shared space including roads, parks, canals, rivers, squares, piazzas, malls and monuments. This shared space is a vast and complex environment in which millions of perfect strangers must move, meet and negotiate. It is, therefore, critical that we invest in them so that London’s great outdoors is fit for the future.

The Mayor launched London’s Great Outdoors – A Manifesto for Public Space which sets out his commitment to champion the improvement of public spaces and create places that are fit for a great world city, and which are enjoyable for everyone who uses or visits them. His manifesto is supported by two practical guides that set out his principles for designing better streets, roads and squares as well as better green and water spaces.

Better Streets – Practical Steps shows how small measures and larger planned redevelopments can make London’s streets and unique public squares more user friendly and attractive, thriving places to be in. £180 million is being invested in street and public space projects that will be delivered by 2012/13, including the redevelopment of Leicester Square, the introduction of diagonal crossings in Oxford Circus, and a number improvements to town centres across outer London including Richmond, Sutton and Woolwich.

Better Green and Water Spaces – Practical Steps outlines how many of the capital’s parks, green spaces and waterways can be made more accessible and pleasant for Londoners. It will help meet one of the Mayor’s priorities to see much better links to waterside places, new public spaces along the banks of the Thames and greater usage of the river and its tributaries, for transport, sport and play. The guide highlights over 30 projects that will be delivered over the next three years, currently supported by more than £40 million of investment. These include Burgess Park in Southwark, which will have exciting designs for its revamp unveiled today. It also includes the ‘Help a London Park’ scheme and major projects around the Olympic Park and across east London.

You can download the Green Outdoors documents at

[SOURCE: Mayor of London]

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at