When Boris Johnson first ran for London mayor, in 2008, he promised not to create “Dubai-on-Thames”, the parade of riverside towers intended by his rival, Ken Livingstone. Oh no, of course not. What the city is actually getting, as he prepares to leave for possibly higher office, is a Dubai-on-Westbourne, -on-Lee, -on-Effra, -on-Bollo Brook, -on-Quaggy, and indeed on most of the obscure tributaries and secondary rivers of the capital, as well as on the Thames, and many of the spaces between them. For, as is possibly now dawning on a wider public, it is hopelessly naive to believe that Johnson believes something when he says it. You didn’t think he really meant it, did you? Ha ha ha. What a card he is. It’s not just about tall buildings, although the number of towers higher than 20 storeys proposed for London now stands at more than 400. It’s also about bloated, bulging, light-blocking buildings of medium height, and about the limited attempts to insist on design quality, or to get new developments to create neighbourhoods that are more than a sum of their parts, or have any meaningful relationships with the areas into which they are inserted. In the dying… Read full this story
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