London leaders launch strategic review of City to 2050

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Think tank Centre for London has launched London Futures, a multi-year strategic review to shape London’s future to 2050 and beyond.

Working with senior leaders from across the city including the Mayor, London’s boroughs, national government, businesses, charities and universities, Centre for London will examine the state of London today, explore different scenarios for London’s future and involve Londoners in creating a new shared vision for the city.

The London Futures review is a once in a generation opportunity to take a long term, strategic approach to the city. The last review of this scale, the 1991 London, World City report, was also the first to benchmark London as a global city, and set in train significant reforms to the capital’s governance, reputation and economy.

Thirty years later, the city is at crossroads. Coronavirus might have upended much of what was assumed about London’s immediate future, but the national and global picture was already evolving before the pandemic.

Brexit, the backlash against globalisation, the climate emergency, automation, population change and a changing international order are all set to change London’s position in the world over the coming decades. London is also now 20 years into its Mayoralty but devolution of additional power and resources to the city seems to have stalled.

Ben Rogers, founding director of Centre for London said: “Cities with a strong vision of their future thrive. Yet it’s been almost 30 years since London’s leaders last took a long, hard look at the city’s position in the UK and the world, and where it might be headed.

“If coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that the future can be incredibly unpredictable.

“But local and national government thinking is too often determined by short electoral cycles. No one is looking across the horizon to 2030, 2050 and beyond.

“London Futures is a once in generation opportunity to shape the city’s future and will help to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous global capital.”

The review will consider how London will change in respond to Covid-19, how it will meets its ambitious net zero targets by 2030 and how it will work in 2050 and beyond.

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The first report from the review will be published in late September. Over the following year, Centre for London will work with partners to create a shared vision with Londoners of the London they want to see.

Catherine McGuinness, chair of policy and resources at the City of London Corporation said: “London Futures seeks to develop an important vision for the future of London and its prosperity.

“This study should stoke vital debate on how best to shape the future needs of London, whilst identifying better ways of working across the capital in a post Covid-19 world.”

Dr Nick Bowes, mayoral director of policy at Greater London Authority added: “The launch of the London Futures review could not be more timely.

“As we emerge from the most significant shock to London’s economy and society in a generation, we are afforded the opportunity to explore ideas of how we can build a better city.

“This has to be driven through conversation with Londoners themselves, and so I welcome the commitment to public consultation as part of the review.

“At City Hall the Mayor is keen to support such far reaching and innovative research that resonates deeply with our own programme for London’s recovery, including one of the biggest public consultations that we’ve ever undertaken.”

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