Renew Winter 2009
Regeneration news in the Thames Gateway
2050 Vision? Inside this issue • 2050 Vision: Sir Terry Farrell’s master narrative • Thames Gateway- where next? • A tale of two villages.
Contents Ros Dunn, Chief Executive, TGLP Editorial
Lord Falconer A challenging year
Julian Gaynor Going underground
Smith Institute Monograph Thames Gateway – where next?
Sir Terry Farrell Thames Gateway Core Vision
Dr Iain Macrury A tale of two villages
London Thames Gateway Quiz Christmas Quiz
Welcome to the winter edition of Renew, the Thames Gateway London Partnership’s quarterly magazine You’ll see that it has a bit of a Christmassy feel with a Christmas version of our usual Thames Gateway quiz on page 12. We also take a slight diversion to the 2010 Winter Olympics and an intriguing comparison between Vancouver and London. But because regeneration is an all year all weather business, the rest of this magazine is devoted as usual to what’s going on now or about to happen in the Gateway. We make no apology for devoting more space than usual for an article on one particular issue: Sir Terry Farrell’s “Core Vision” for the Thames Gateway which was launched at this year’s Thames Gateway Forum (see pages 6-8). TGLP welcomes and supports Sir Terry’s vision, which was commissioned by the Homes and Communities Agency and developed in consultation with all key stakeholders. I am a particular fan for two main reasons. The first is that it is simply very good; a compelling narrative encompassing all aspects of the Thames Gateway, recognising and praising its strengths but honest too about where it needs to develop and what needs to be done – and what could be achieved if we set our minds to it. The second, more pragmatic reason is that it gives us a real opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say “right, no more visions; we’ve got one that will do even if it’s not perfect but simply passes the 80:20 rule.” In that sense its timing could not be better as we approach a General Election; whoever wins will have a clear basis on which to develop its future approach to the Thames Gateway.There can now be no excuse for any delay on driving this agenda forward; even a “forensic audit” will benefit from the clarity the vision brings, because it sets a baseline for what we should be aiming to achieve. This in turn should make the task of working out how best to achieve it easier. And as we continue to develop TGLP’s “Manifesto” for an incoming government so we will be building on the proposals set out by Sir Terry. Our manifesto will concentrate on the areas covered in our draft ten point plan: looking at what any government must do to sustain investment and focus on the Thames Gateway. The proposals in the vision also look at what success might look like by 2050 based on sustainable economic growth, a low carbon economy, connected communities, education and skills, the remaking of East London and renaissance of the estuary towns and a high quality Parklands landscape.There has to be recognition that the Thames Gateway is a long term project and that means looking ahead to 2050 and beyond, whilst at the same time, incorporating plans for the short and medium term. Ros Dunn, Chief Executive, TGLP
Cover Shows photograph by Claude Schneider
Lord Falconer, Chair, TGLP 2009 has been a challenging year, and the London Thames “We know that the Gateway has had its fair share of those challenges. We’ve been affected by the economic downturn and felt the Thames Gateway needs effects of job losses, and the knock on effects in terms to happen. We also of increasing pressures on public services such as the know that money will provision of housing. We’ve also seen how pressure on public spending is starting to build up with worrying stories be tighter than ever about the reprioritisation of funding away from the Thames before, and that there Gateway.In terms of specifics, some key transport projects will be a need to do such as the DLR extension to Dagenham Dock and the later phases of the East London Transit Scheme are being more for less.” delayed or shelved through lack of funding even though there is no argument about their fundamental importance. The Forum also saw the launch of the Smith Institute Monograph entitled The Thames Gateway – Where Next? But it hasn’t all been bad news. Progress on the construction Our own Chief Executive, Ros Dunn was one of the of the main Olympic venues continues apace and is indeed contributors to this collection of essays and on page 5 of ahead of schedule. Anyone who goes to Canary Wharf will this edition we have pulled out some of the key quotes. see the first stages of construction of the new Crossrail The overriding message (yet again) was that there remains station. And we’ve welcomed decisions by the Homes and a coherent economic argument which is now backed up Communities Agency which have seen stalled projects in a by a strong and sensible narrative from Sir Terry Farrell. number of places, including Woodberry Down, St Andrew’s He gives us a powerful vision of how the Thames Gateway Hospital and Kidbrooke benefit from HCA investment could look in 2050, now it’s up to us to make this vision a reality. programmes including Kickstart. Just over two years ago we welcomed the first Eurostar trains into the beautiful new station on St Pancras International and December 2009 sees the start of the high speed service linking London St Pancras to Kent. Commuters from Ashford will see their journey times slashed in half to under 40 minutes. And in 2012 these same javelin trains will whisk commuters from St Pancras to the Olympic Park in Stratford in just seven minutes. I like to think we can see these positive developments as a sign that the message about the importance of the Gateway is really getting through. It is worth investing and continuing to invest even during a downturn because the strategic importance of the sub region – to the rest of London and therefore the rest of the UK which depends upon London to drive economic growth.This is set out clearly in Sir Terry Farrell’s “Core vision” of the Thames Gateway and it is a message which I believe cannot be repeated too often. I’ve argued before that the Thames Gateway can lead the road to recovery and I’m pleased to say that this view has been shared by government ministers with responsibility for the Thames Gateway, most recently the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, at the Thames Gateway Forum.
It’s also interesting to note that the pre budget report establishes a new body, Infrastructure UK, which is charged with the task of advising the Government on priorities for just the kind of long-term national infrastructure investment the Thames Gateway needs.
“the message about the importance of the Gateway is really getting through” As the political temperature rises, as it inevitably will from now until whenever the General Election is held, we will do well to keep our focus on this simple message: that the success of Thames Gateway is – to use a technical term - a “no brainer” if we want to secure a return to economic prosperity for the whole of the UK, not just London or the greater South East. TGLP is working to develop a “Manifesto” for an incoming government, based on responses to our ten point Plan, published in the summer, and further work we are doing with stakeholders to clarify exactly what the new government needs to do to enable this success to happen through investment or empowerment.
Facts from the Forum: Over 800 regeneration experts from all over the Gateway attended the new look Thames Gateway Forum 2009 held at the indig02 for the first time. Opened by Sir Bob Kerslake, the event was full to capacity with 60 partners and the most focused programme since the inaugural forum in 2004.
Envac: going underground in the Thames Gateway?
In the Thames Gateway area, Envac have recently compiled detailed feasibility studies for both the Greenwich Peninsula and Barking Riverside projects. In Sweden in the late 1950’s, a company called Envac invented a vacuum cleaning system where the housewife or husband could simply plug their vacuum cleaner into the wall of their apartment and the dust sucked could be sent centrally down a pipe into a common dust collection point at the bottom of their building. The system was adopted by hospitals in the same way and the company flourished with orders for this novel way of getting rid of vacuum cleaner waste. In the early 1960’s an employee of Envac asked the question ‘’If you can vacuum dust and transport it through pipes, why not do the same with household waste?’’ There the underground automated vacuum waste system was invented, and the first system was installed in Stockholm, collecting solid waste and transporting it by vacuum in underground pipes to a central collection station where the fans used to create the vacuum are housed. Today Envac is owned by the Swedish shipping company, Stena. There are over 600 installations worldwide including huge swathes of Barcelona, the Disney World theme park Florida and the Palm Island in Dubai. The system has become a standard choice for new housing developments in many parts of Europe and Asia for collecting waste and recyclables.
The system solves a lot of the problems developers face when trying to produce a waste strategy taking into account today’s demands for sustainable development and negating the need for communal bins and bin stores totally.This frees up valuable space for useful purposes. It takes away the need for any refuse staff to handle waste or bins at all, and as the waste or recyclables can be piped up to 2km away to the central collection station refuse trucks do not need to enter onto new residential developments at all. Vehicle movements are between 5 and 10% of traditional collection methods, reducing carbon emissions in the process. As the waste material is sorted into roll on off size containers at the collection station, local authority waste collection is a fraction of its previous cost also. Whilst the system has become standard in many parts of the world, it has not been seen in the UK, until now. The developer Quintain has chosen the Envac method for its Wembley City development where it will connect up 4,200 new flats. The system blends perfectly with the London Borough of Brent’s waste collection strategy. Three waste streams are collected, residual waste, mixed dry recyclables (paper, glass, cans, plastic and card) and organic waste. The system at Wembley has been running for a year now, and recycling rates of almost 50% are being achieved (this against a regional recycling rate in London of less than 30%). The interest in Envac in the UK is simply phenomenal. It ticks all the boxes for developers, architects, local authorities, urban planners and residents alike. It creates a living environment where you simply don’t need to live with smelly and ugly waste bins around you, and refuse trucks don’t enter into residential streets at all. The waste is simply moved by air in the underground pipe network to the edge of the development away from where people live. www.envac.net
The Thames Gateway: where next? Smith Institute Monograph The Thames Gateway Forum also saw the launch of the Smith Institute Monograph, hosted by Sir Terry Farrell and Shahid Malik, Minister for the Thames Gateway in the Department for Communities and Local Government. The collection of essays includes a contribution from our own Chief Executive, Ros Dunn. Over 50 delegates attended the breakfast briefing launch. The Thames Gateway remains the largest and most significant growth and regeneration site in the UK. Although the pace of development has slowed since the credit crunch and the economic downturn hit, the Gateway remains a significant driver for sustainable growth and innovation in London and the Greater South East. Making the most of the Gateway will, moreover, continue to be a feature in the planning of the region for many years to come. The aim of the Smith Institute monograph is not to give a justification for the Gateway or to detail every project. Its purpose is to provide an overview and agenda for renewed interest in the initiative, through a collection of high-level perspectives on what the Gateway has to offer. The Smith Institure brought together some of the country’s leading practitioners and thinkers in the fields of place making, regeneration and housing. These essays provide a valuable critique and insight into the future of the Gateway.
“The recession may have bought us a short respite in which to develop a better and clearer vision for the Gateway. Its depth means, though, that visions alone are not enough.” Richard Simmons, Chief Executive of the Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment
“We will maintain the momentum to drive forward delivery of the vision over the next 40 years.” Sir Bob Kerslake The view from North Kent
“As Sir Bob Kerslake tells us, the Thames Gateway is of unique scale, aspiration and importance to the UK economy. He sums up the message of all those who have contributed to this monograph: all of us with a stake in the Thames Gateway have a role to play in maintaining delivery, making the case for further investment, and sharing the vision.”
“…the view from North Kent is a positive one. The coming together of a number of factors – the new high-speed rail services, the availability of brownfield sites, investment in new infrastructure – has given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the economy of North Kent. The present economic climate and tough outlook on public expenditure do not invalidate our objectives. But they do mean that we must find new and innovative ways to tackle some of the challenges we face. We need to work together and work smarter.” David Liston-Jones, Chief Executive of the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership
Shahid Malik, Minister for the Thames Gateway
“The core vision is a “master narrative” for the Thames Gateway. It is intended to inform the growth and regeneration strategy for the whole area, shape the funding and delivery strategy, and form the basis for future policy at subregional and local level. It is intended to help communicate the initiative to a wide audience, including inward investors and local people. In other words, it is a sequence of key themes that encapsulate the Gateway’s future success.” Sir Terry Farrell
The view from Essex “The challenge is therefore to ensure that the case for theThames Gateway is made clearly, cogently and loudly. In this context, the message needs to be as much about demonstrating why the regeneration of the Gateway is essential to UK plc as it is about its value to the local population and London or its benefits in tackling deprivation and other social or environmental issues in the region. We must avoid wish-lists of calls on government spending, and instead demonstrate the excellent return on investment that can be achieved by both government and the private sector in the Thames Gateway, while benefiting the local population.” Mark Pragnell, Executive Director of the Thames Gateway South Essex Partners
The view from London “…the physical regeneration of the London Thames Gateway has to happen. It is essential to the future growth of London – both policy makers and developers know this – and this means that, over time, values will return and projects which have stalled will be restarted. If we are lucky, developers may have taken the opportunity to rethink and improve the quality of some schemes, helped by pressure to do so by policy makers. And if the concept of parklands as a unifying theme that recognises the natural landscape of the Gateway and seeks to raise environmental standards takes hold, as it should, we can expect to see “sympathetic regeneration” that respects the very different places in the Gateway – urban, suburban, estuary towns and wild spaces – and delivers exemplary environmental standards. Ros Dunn, Chief Executive of the Thames Gateway London Partership
“…Roll forward 10 or 20 years.Will we be making steady progress towards our visions for the constellation of communities in the Gateway? Will only those households that can afford to do so move from London to Essex and Kent?” Lee Shostak, Chair of the Town & Country Planning Association The full collection of essays is available from www.smith-institute.org.uk
2050 Vision: The Thames Gateway Core Vision Sir Terry Farrell’s vision for the Thames Gateway The Thames Gateway is critical to the UK’s future prosperity. This premise is at the heart of Sir Terry Farrell’s ‘Core Vision’ for The Thames Gateway in his role as Design Champion for the Gateway and builds on the parklands vision and the eco-region concept. The vision recognises that the Thames Gateway project is a long term initiative that has already, and will continue to, span decades and governments. The Thames Gateway plays a critical role in supporting wealth creation in an increasingly competitive world. London is the UK’s most important economic asset. It drives one of the world’s most successful regional economies, the Greater South East (London, the South East and the East of England). Enabled by London’s wealth, the Greater South East (GSE) is the only UK region that competes on the world stage and it is the most important Sir Terry Farrell at this year’s Thames Gateway Forum ‘super-region’ in Europe.
“I believe this new vision communicates in a compelling and inspirational way what the Gateway is all about, what its future prospects are and why government and partners are happy to give it their support. The narrative will be very useful to help guide thinking on the future delivery strategy for the Gateway as we go forward.” Sir Bob Kerslake, Chief Executive of the HCA. According to the vision, the long term success of the Thames Gateway depends on: Recognising that growth in London and the Greater South east is critical. Sustainable economic growth – by 2020, GDP and Gross Value Added (GVA) could match the Greater South East’s averages, adding 12 billion to the UK economy with growth exceeding the regional average thereafter.
By 2050, Thames Gateway has a vigorous economy based on its unique assets • Major new environmental industries are established, including carbon recycling, capture and storage • Business and financial services employment in Thames Gateway is second only to Central London within Europe • There is a major increase in transport employment, including ports and logistics • There is an established and growing knowledge economy • There are centres of advanced manufacturing throughout Thames Gateway
The focus for low carbon industry and a place for low carbon communities Essential as we head to Copenhagen. An innovative local carbon economy – the Thames Gateway could become the leading place for environmental innovation and change in the UK. By 2050, the Thames Gateway could be self sufficient and despite major growth, the area could reach its 80% carbon reduction target.
This means that by 2050: • Thames Gateway is energy self sufficient • 80% carbon reduction target achieved by 2050, despite major growth • The UK’s leading location for low carbon energy including wind, solar, tidal and biomass sources • Thames Gateway achieves water neutrality • All its waste is re-processed within the Gateway • All buildings are retrofitted to be low carbon and run on clean energy • District and local energy networks are in place, and excess heat and waste from all major power stations is recycled.
“I can think of no other place with more potential to tackle the climate change agenda than here in the Thames Gateway.” Peter Head of Arup, Thames Gateway Innovation Champion Create the best connected communities by focusing growth on the most accessible locations. Crossrail One and Two, the North and South Essex lines, before mention of CTRL and High Speed One, are major assets that provide a significant basis for new growth.
By 2050, Thames Gateway has the best connected communities in the region • High speed connections across the outer estuary linking the economies of Kent & Essex • Major international stations at Ebbsfleet and Stratford, with high speed connections to the UK and Europe, attract major European companies • Southend and City Airports are part of a national network connected by high speed rail • Integrated port facilities at London Gateway, Tilbury, Sheerness and Medway connected to a national and European rail freight network • Intelligent public transport information systems linked to every home in the Gateway • Distribution hubs throughout the Gateway are based on low emissions vehicle fleets • Education and skills – there are specific opportunities throughout Thames Gateway for skills specialisation, forming the basis for building new industries and new economies in the Thames Gateway. By 2050, A-levels and NVQs could match the regional average, enabling local residents to benefit from growth.
Re-make East London as vibrant and successful communities Re-making East London – building on the Olympic legacy, providing a quality of life and socio-economic standards comparable to the rest of London and intensifying unused brownfield land to create vibrant and attractive places. Major initiatives should include: rediscovering ‘lost places’ to help re-establish identity of place; improving connectivity within East London; and reconnecting communities to the river and its landscapes. By 2050, the population in East London could exceed its 1960’s peak and house prices equal the Greater London average.
By 2050, Thames Gateway has a major knowledge economy and high skills levels
“our key aim is to ensure that skills are raised throughout The Gateway, so that local people can take full advantage of investment.” Skills champion Sir David Melville • • • • •
A-levels and NVQs match the regional average, enabling local residents to benefit from growth World leading academic institute for the Sustainable Environment established, with campuses in East London and the Estuary Skills academies and further and higher education provision throughout the Gateway Centres for manufacturing excellence (e.g. aerospace in Southend, advanced manufacturing in Medway) A world class arts Thames Gateway cluster providing skills in TV & film, digital media, fashion, furniture and design.
By 2050 every estuary town has undergone a renaissance - these towns will play to their own strengths and advantages.
By 2050 a continuous high quality Parklands landscape has been created A high quality, high value Parklands landscape – this long term aim is to create an environmental quality comparable with the Thames Valley. It will include water landscapes and wetlands and the river itself, along with landscape creation within East London and the estuary towns.
Plan for Thames Gateway as a long term initiative It’s worth remembering that success in the Thames Valley was planned for in HM Government’s 1971 South East Plan. This was focussed on attracting high value high technology industries based on the Thames Valley’s infrastructure and quality of life advantages. Four decades later, this is still work in progress, but with much success to show in line with the original vision. Similarly, Thames Gateway is an ambitious long term initiative and should be planned in the same way, for the short, medium and long term.
A Tale of Two Villages: London, Vancouver and ‘Sustainability’ Dr Iain MacRury, Director, London East Research Institute, University of East London Olympic villages are practical buildings fit for specific Gamestime purposes; housing athletes and coaches and fitted out to accommodate the needs of paralympians. Villages are also emblematic objects; a ‘human’ platform for super-human feats and a terms-defining gesture within the legacy conversation. Ideally the village concretises a joint aspiration from the IOC and the host, part of an attempt to put the (global) village back into the city; to open-up and leave behind a space that marks friendship , community and cosmopolitan internationalism. The village is an Olympic asset: part of the good of the Games. Well before the Games have begun, the unfolding processes of adaptation of the village (physically and financially) for life after the event stands as a significant index; a sign pointing to something of the tone and substance of the city’s commitments to broader ideas of legacy. The village seems initially to be the easiest piece of Olympic furniture to inherit. It offers the host city an opportunity for a quick-win. Games organisers can make a practical contribution to legacy, while also forming a statement about relationships between the Games, the city, the community and other stakeholders. As Spanish urbanist Francesc Munoz suggests, Olympic villages point to “the history of ideas about how to develop the city, how to plan it and how to manage it” (Muñoz 1996). London’s Olympic village, adjacent to the emerging Stratford City development, is, in itself, a large development. It is set in the end to yield in the region of 3,000 homes. But it stands too as something more abstract; as a test-bed for the developing working definition of a concept central to development planning up and down Thames Gateway. That concept is sustainability. The final refinements to London’s village planning might be helpfully informed by a look at another Olympic village;Vancouver. Two years ahead of London in its 2010 preparations, Vancouver, has shared some of the Olympic regeneration-development challenges associated with “legacy”, facing economic conditions marked by the credit crunch and public spending cuts .Vancouver is pitching itself as the first ‘sustainable’ Games. High aspirations have been put to the test. The British sporting imaginary identifies the Olympics movement squarely with summer events. Notwithstanding, Torvill and Dean in Sarajevo, (1984), Eddie the Eagle in Calgary (1988) and Scottish Curlers in Salt Lake City (2002) the winter Games have been a minority interest here. Consequently less attention is given to winter events, and to the achievements, stories and controversies surrounding winter Olympic cities. There are ostensibly good reasons for this summer-centrism. Winter Olympic host cities tend to be smaller than the cities that host summer Games: thus Sochi not Moscow; Turin not Rome; Albertville not Paris. The component events, and there are far fewer of them than in the summer Games, draw a smaller, less global audience. The mountains rather than the cityscape serve as frame, backdrop and focus for thinking about placemaking and sustainable development. The budgets are smaller; the champions less familiar. The Winter Games will open in Vancouver on February 12th 2010. 2012 will seem suddenly closer. Here in the UK, casual indifference may be lessened. ‘Legacy’ buzz-words will get an airing, if only initially in acknowledgement that whatever unwieldy Olympic sporting infrastructure east London has to absorb post-2012, nobody is going to have to find a credible use
for a bob-sleigh track in the Thames Gateway
Practical legacy: these Vancouver bleachers temporarily in use for the Curling Venue will be shipped for re-use in London 2012 What insights can London, east London and Thames Gateway take away from Vancouver? Telling comparisons are initially elusive. Vancouver is the model of a successful medium sized city. Its growing population (est. 611,869) in its central locales is complemented by at least a further 2,000,000+ in the Greater Vancouver area . The metropolis is noted for successes in maintaining a vibrant residential core, integrated with and integrating the city’s dynamic commercial life. It differs from Olympic east London in size of course; but also in the degree to which, in Vancouver, gentrification and polarization – starkly evident for instance around the London’s Canary Wharf development – seem less pronounced.This, along with waterside living and spectacular scenery, contributes to the case made successfully for Vancouver as a supremely ‘liveable’ city . At first blush then, it is tricky to see what connects east London and Vancouver. In small details there are some neat London-Vancouver Olympic legacy links. One instance: the bleachers temporarily in use for the curling ice will be shipped to London for re-use during 2012 Games. Afterwards the Vancouver curling venue, retro-fitted for easy conversion into an ice rink, swimming pool, library and nursery, will provide a refurbished community centre.Vancouver seems wholly comfortable with ‘legacy’ discourse, engaged with IOC visioning, and alerted to the fallout from mixed Olympic experiences in the medium-term past; at national level in Montreal 1976 and at regional-provincial level in British Columbia, during the Calgary Games in 1988.
Artist’s impression of London Village
Other links are more conceptual. In particular sustainability is playing a headline role in Vancouver’s Olympic conversation, as it is here in London. The front cover of VANOC’s sustainability self-monitoring papers offers a succinct definition: For VANOC sustainability means managing the social, economic and environmental impacts and opportunities of our Games to produce lasting benefits, locally and globally (VANOC 2008). London’s Olympic promise to create a ‘blueprint for sustainable living’ comes quickly to mind as do more detailed Olympic sustainability commitments - subdivided to cover climate awareness, bio-diversity, healthy living, inclusive communities and waste management. Scrutiny will come in part from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, established by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and (LOCOG) to ‘provide credible, independent assurance on the sustainability status of the London 2012 Games’.
Latest aerial view of the London stadium
‘Sustainability’ is not just an Olympic pre-occupation. It echoes in resolutions made by government bodies in the UK and in Canada. In the UK TGLP recently committed to seek “a balance between the drives for economic success, environmental protection and social equity” because “Cohesive communities are forged when these are in harmony”. The Canadian External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, EACCC2006, set down the following; part commitment, part rule of thumb: Sustainability is most usefully regarded as a guiding principle, rather than a specific set of ideas applied in a single area such as environmental policy.The essence …is to recognize that there are assets, costs and benefits not accounted for in market decisions and values. Sustainability looks to the public interest beyond narrow market decisions (Holden, MacKenzie and Van Wynsberghe 2008).
Both cities have mobilised “sustainability” as a major narrative-term in legacy development. Indeed the establishment of a working definition of sustainability in regional re-development is an important ‘legacy’ gain. Indeed the establishment and successful demonstration of this concept-in-action affords the means whereby ‘intangible’ legacies (celebratory affirmations of ethical commitments to ecology and social justice) might become translated into ‘hard’, ‘tangible’, ‘lasting’ gains – the promissory ‘blueprint’ made real. This then is one potential source of Thames Gateway Olympic legacy for the long term. Something else links London and Vancouver. Both cities planned their respective Olympic Villages with a mindset attuned to the world of accessible credit, growing land and property prices, and routine commitment to the idea of public-private financing; seemingly a best-of-both-worlds urban development paradigm. Both cities face delivering the Games, and their legacy promises, in credit crunch conditions, and with a protracted recession on the horizon. This puts massive pressure on public finances, with knock on pressures placed upon the national- and local-political imagination. The public private formula is not delivering as planned. Vancouver and London share something else. Both cites have long standing and developing problems with homelessness and affordable housing, with policy developments and house building failing to keep pace with need. This is the major blot on Vancouver’s copy book. It provides an uncomfortable contextualisation for elitefocussed assessments of ‘liveability’. Housing then is high on the agenda.This policy context brings additional energy to debates around the villages and their legacy. The Vancouver village was handed over to VANOC on 4th November, almost finished; the buildings suggest an impressive achievement. The waterfront apartment development looks stunning. The planning has opened up an important public space next to the water and the development communicates a sense of connectedness between to the flows of the city and the waterside. A number of innovative green technologies are deployed across the complex, to harvest rainwater, to recover heat from sewers, and to enhance eco-education. The project stands as a flagship development in terms of environmental sustainability, qualifying for the highest levels of accreditation under Canada’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) scheme.
A panoramic view of the London stadium
In Vancouver, and notwithstanding the eye-opening ecotechnologies and designer interiors of the impressively executed waterfront village; the outcome has seems to be, at best, mixed. In order to recoup the additional expenditures emerging from collapsed private finance arrangements this city has had to make some ‘hard decisions’ about the housing mix in the village. There have been strident calls for the city to ignore commitments to the 252 social housing units on the grounds that subsidising these (at est. $600,000 per unit) is not and economically efficient use of public funds. Housing, after all could be built elsewhere, increasing the likelihood of higher market returns on the village-legacy properties. Properties marketed heavily on their Olympic-pedigree – with the offer of a chance to live in a legacy.
‘sustainable communities’. The London Olympic Village will encompass 11 blocks. These will be composed of six to eight buildings. Social housing will be allocated buildings separate to the buildings assigned for to private homes. There is already disquiet about the dynamics of this mix; a conflict between a marketing conception of Return on Investment and a Legacy conception of sustainability.There remains a good deal to settle, even while there are, as yet, no indications that published affordable housing promises in the village will decrease.
The difficulty of marketing condos at $1,000,000 while also incorporating affordable tenants means that fewer units appear to have been sold than more optimistic projections suggested would be the case. This will likely have the largest potential unknown impact on the City’s financial exposure in this matter and while currently available estimates might suggest at this time a relatively neutral outcome for the City, the current state of the real estate market makes forecasting the City’s financial exposure with any degree of precision extremely difficult (KPMG) There have been protests linking the Olympics to the homelessness issue in Vancouver with housing activists bring a “Poverty Olympics torch” to relay protest. Press coverage has identified muddle, mismanagement and lost opportunities. The negative impacts on Olympic budget are likely to put other ‘legacy’ projects at risk. The definition of sustainability a vision that “looks to the public interest beyond narrow market decisions” has been challenged – as market considerations have come to define one interpretation of the public interest. The Village seems unlikely to live up to the highest aspirations initially set out – for a sustainable mixed community enjoying an environmentally well conceived housing development inspired by the ‘glow’ of Olympic legacy-success.The ‘green’ aspect of the development seems the only component of the sustainability vision to have survived uncompromised. Is this a feature of an Olympic fetishisation of ‘green’ sustainability – with harder, less glamorous, socio-economic sustainability issues deferred or avoided? Is there such a thing as a ‘Green Elephant?’ The issue facing London then is how to maximise a return on the Governmental investment while respecting commitments to a socially inclusive definitions of
Vancouver’s impressive waterfront village.
Work on the London Village
The credit crunch and consequential impacts on planning and financing the village rocked, if not destroyed, Vancouver’s ambitions for building a sustainability legacy. The public-private model has been found inadequate in this case. If London can better resolve the problems facing village-sustainability in the immediate months, perhaps taking further heed of some of the complexities made manifest in Vancouver, then that would be progress. To more successfully address problems which seem to be remaining precariously unresolved in Vancouver is an Olympic challenge for London. If it can credibly meet that challenge then London will have contributed a positive legacy, one with potentially far-reaching consequences up and down the Thames Gateway. The full version of this article is at www.tglp.org.uk
Christmas links to the London Thames Gateway In a slight change to our usual quiz on key facts from the Knowledge Platform, we have added a Christmas celebrity twist. Anyone looking for a way of comparing a wealth of information on London Thames Gateway and local communities need look no further than the Thames Gateway Knowledge Platform. This is an invaluable online information service that allows partners in the Thames Gateway and outside to pool and share information and knowledge. This can be displayed in a number of ways: as maps, as various charts, or league tables of rankings, all enabling detailed comparison of social, environmental and economic trends.
Q2 Which former resident of Stepney Green
narrated an alternative film version (1982) of the Raymond Briggs book ‘the Snowman’?
Q3 Repetition? Who recorded ‘Little Drummer Boy’ with Bing Crosby (recorded in 1977 released in 1982 reaching no.3 in the Britishcharts?
Q4 Which Hackney resident and X Factor winner
of X had a 2006 xmas No. 1 with ‘A moment like this’?
Q5 This soon to be departing Old Vic favourite starred in a number of roles in the classic ‘Carryon Christmas’ (1973)?
Who achieved the 1994 Christmas no.1 with ‘Stay Another Day’?
Q7 Double header: who recorded ‘A Winter’s
Tale’ as a song? Who is acting in a film of the Shakespearean play of the same name due to be released in late 2009?
Q1 Answer: Dudley Moore (born in Dagenham) Q2 Answer: David Bowie (once resident in Stepney Green) Q3 Answer: David Bowie again! Q4 Answer: Leona Lewis Q5 Answer: Barbara Windsor (born Shoreditch) Q6 Answer: East 17 Q7 Answer: David Essex (born Plaistow) and DerekJacobi (born Leytonstone) Q8 Answer: Vera Lynn (born East Ham) releasing ‘Vera Lynn at Christmas’ Q9 Answer: Angela Lansbury (born in Poplar) Q10 Answer: Warren Mitchell (born Stoke Newington) in the 2000 TV version Gary Oldman (born in Lewisham) (who is playing Jacob Marley et al in the latest 2009 film version.
Q1 Who played the lead elf in ‘Santa Claus: the
Q8 Which forces sweetheart currently aged 92 is releasing a 2009 Christmas Album?
Which star of ‘Murder she wrote’ also appeared in the nativity epic, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ (1965)?
There have been at least two LTG associated actors who have appeared in different versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Name one of them!
The Thames Gateway Knowledge Platform. will be relaunched in 2010. For more information contact Gary Tindell on 020 7673 4578 or email Gary@thames-gateway.org.uk or Stephen Bromwich on 020 7673 4672 or email Stephen@thames-gateway.org.uk
Renew is published by Thames Gateway London Partnership and is distributed free to regeneration agencies, private and public sector partners and community organisations within the Thames Gateway. Editorial contributions, subscription requests and any other queries can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thames Gateway London Partnership, Anchorage House, East India Dock, 2 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BE Telephone: 020 7673 4578. 16