Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Rapid Rise of London's "Placey Places": Elephant and Castle, Lend Lease, Mark Dickinson, Southwark, Fiona Colley

The Rapid Rise of London's 
"Placey Places"

Paul Coleman reports from the first London Real Estate Forum

The Elephant and Castle will become a "placey place", according to property developer Lend Lease and its partner, the Labour-controlled Southwark Council.
Lend Lease development MD Mark Dickinson and Fiona Colley, a locally elected Southwark councillor, told the London Real Estate Forum today (12 June) that their joint 'regeneration' plan will make the Elephant and Castle, not simply a new place, but into something even better, a "placey place".
  'Place making' for 'real communities' is a term coined by developers and councillors embarked on joint 'regeneration' schemes. Critics say 'place making' is part of the 'regeneration' lexicon that trys to put an anodyne spin on plans to convert places that were once for people, into places that provide developers with yields, returns and profits.
  Spin, though, eventually runs out of steam. So 'place-making' for 'real communities'  seems to have churned up "placey places", presumably for 'peoplely people'.

London Real Estate Forum
The emergence of the first London Real Estate Forum, held over June 11-12 in a marquee in Berkeley Square, confirms that 21st Century property developers and councils are set to transform vast acreages of London at an increasingly rapid pace.
  The LREF is set to become an annual event. Potential investors will be invited to sip and nibble with property developers and their partners. 
  Their partners are chiefly London's locally elected politicians who often facilitate and subsidise the development process with offers of discounted publicly owned land.
  The chief market for LREF delegates touting their new luxury penthouses, apartments and offices will continue to be a global elite of investors from the Far East, Middle East, the 'Stan' new nations - and from countries undergoing political, economic and social turmoil, notably Greece - and, this summer, Turkey.

The glittering scale models of the various development schemes on display at the London Real Estate Forum are beautifully made by craftsmen like Duncan Robertson (above). But architects are responsible for the models' remarkably similar look. 
  Towers of glass, steel and hi-tech concrete cladding promise few distinguishing characteristics. 
  These luxury penthouses, apartments and offices are set to clamber onto London's skyline over the next 20 years and cover Earls Court, Elephant and Castle, Stratford and Nine Elms/Battersea.
Will Londoners on average and low incomes benefit from these new 'placey places'? Will they be able to afford to live in them? 
Predictably, these questions didn't top the agenda at the first London Real Estate Forum.

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, June 2013.

Model of Kings Cross development

© Words & Photos, Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, June 2013

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