City of Villages

The growth of London
The growth of London
Ped Sheds - Pedestrain Shed - a basic building block of walkable neighborhoods
Ped Sheds - Pedestrain Shed - a basic building block of walkable neighborhoods
Suburbia
Suburbia
Logo for the report
Logo for the report
Project date
01.11.2001
Type
  • Publication
  • Research
Location
Greater London
Clients
Greater London Authority
Associated team members
Associated documents

London's suburbs cover almost two thirds of its area and provide homes for more than half its population. They are vital to its economic, social and environmental sustainability and contribute much to London's unique character as a city made up of a series of villages. This report was commissioned to assess the state of London's suburbs and to develop policies to secure their long-term future. In particular it asked: Are there London suburbs that are at risk of decline and if so why? Which suburban areas are thriving and why? How can suburban London become more sustainable? The research was carried out for the GLA by URBED with the TCPA, and was based upon a literature review, seven case studies, a survey of suburban London Authorities and two seminars.

For many years London's suburbs have been regarded a stable backdrop to the life of the city. However boroughs were concerned that the suburbs were increasingly facing challenges that were not being addressed by the urban agenda that tended to focus on the heart of the city. The fear was that the renaissance of inner urban areas could create the conditions for the decline of some suburbs. This was not been entirely borne out by the research, however a series of pressures facing suburbia were identified including population loss, the movement of problems out of the inner city, the obsolescence of the housing stock and the decline of retail and employment centres. The suburbs also contribute significantly to London's resource use especially in terms of transport and home energy use.

The report develops a spatial strategy for the concentration of new development at higher densities around the 200 or so ped-sheds in Suburban London. It also includes a strategy to address the pressures facing suburbs and to reduce their environmental impact. These findings fed directly into the drafting of the London Plan and have subsequently been developed into a handbook for sustainable suburbs.