I first got to know you on annual weekend visits as a child. Your famous monuments and overpriced hotels opened my eyes to a type of settlement a million miles away from the rural idyll of the Channel Islands. After I relocated to the city in 2006 I have got to know you on a more personal level and have seen you and at your best and worst. So as I depart for a city often feted for its approach to urbanism and liveability (rightly or wrongly), I leave with you my thoughts on what makes you world class and not bottom of the class.
London's parks come in all shapes and sizes, shabby or royal, overgrown or majestic. Having lived in west London for the past two years I have been spoiled for choice with access to Hyde Park, Holland Park and Ravenscourt Park - not to forget the future plans for the redevelopment of Shepherds Bush Green. London's parks often appear from nowhere, surrounded by terraced housing and suddenly providing open greenspace in the heart of the city. Clearly we owe a great deal to the Royal Parks for establishing a blueprint of substantial open parkland which the city continues to benefit from.
|Mind the Gap|
Old and New
After visiting Paris I was suddenly struck by how London brazenly mixes new and old architecture. Central Paris is a museum city whereas London embraces contemporary development alongside its historical monuments. While one can endlessly debate the architectural and design quality of the new buildings, the sheer fact they are being built is testament to the city. London has its fair share of architectural mistakes, but overall I think the city embraces change in its more central areas whilst not neglecting the Gherkin and the soon to be finished Shard add to the character of London and have quickly become part of the urban fabric.
|The London Plan Key Diagram|