London faces becoming a city with a ‘burn and churn’ culture within 10 years unless it focuses more on public spaces and its people and less on stress and city bonuses, Demos warns today.
The new Demos report, BCN-LDN, says that the city’s population will grow by 700,000 by 2016, but that its inhabitants will be pushed out by high poverty levels and a lack of affordable homes unless growth is ‘structured and sustained’ to benefit the people most in need.
The report argues that, as London gears up to the 2012 Olympics, it must learn from the mistakes of the 1992 host city, Barcelona. It says that as well as producing a huge public spectacle, London must ensure it provides a lasting public legacy – and not succumb to its cavalier ‘burn and churn’ mentality.
In comparing Barcelona and London, the report, produced jointly with a think tank from the Catalan city, suggests what ingredients make a great city. It says that London should be praised for its diversity, acceptance of difference and adaptability but that it can learn from Barcelona by:
- Bringing more popular culture onto the streets and public spaces, rather than in stuffy galleries and institutions
- Focussing more on family life and respecting all generations
- Understanding better the natural landscape when planning regeneration
- Ensuring there is a strong, inclusive legacy for the Olympics as well as a spectacular event
- Creating more pedestrianised areas to encourage café culture
Melissa Mean, Head of the Demos Cities Programme says:
“London and Barcelona are both iconic cities with ambition and strong values. But they have much to learn from each other. London has a strong global identity with many plus points; organic areas such as Borough and the city’s parks really set it apart from its Catalan counterpart.
“But the success of the Olympics and London’s ability to accommodate its growing population rests heavily on the government putting aside quick fixes and looking to the long-term.”
For more information, a copy of BCN-LDN and to arrange interviews with the report’s co-editors Melissa Mean and Joost Beunderman, contact:
Victoria Shooter on 020 7367 6325 email@example.com
Notes to Editors
- BCN-LDN was produced jointly by Demos and the Fundacio Ramon Trias Fargas in Barcelona
- Demos is the think tank for everyday democracy, the idea that all people should have greater influence over factors that affect them and their communities (www.demos.co.uk)