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The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021




The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021

Greg Clark

ISBN: 978-1-118-60974-3 December 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 248 Pages

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After two decades of evolution and transformation, London had become one of the most open and cosmopolitan cities in the world. The success of the 2012 Olympics set a high water-mark in the visible success of the city, while its influence and soft power increased in the global systems of trade, capital, culture, knowledge, and communications.

The Making of a World City: London 1991 - 2021 sets out in clear detail both the catalysts that have enabled London to succeed and also the qualities and underlying values that are at play: London’s openness and self-confidence, its inventiveness, influence, and its entrepreneurial zeal. London’s organic, unplanned, incremental character, without a ruling design code or guiding master plan, proves to be more flexible than any planned city can be.

Cities are high on national and regional agendas as we all try to understand the impact of global urbanisation and the re-urbanisation of the developed world. If we can explain London’s successes and her remaining challenges, we can unlock a better understanding of how cities succeed.


About the Author ix

Foreword by Martin Simmons xi

Preface by Rosemary Feenan and Robert Gordon Clark xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Section I London in 1991 – Setting the scene

1 Introduction: Honor Chapman and London:World City 3

2 London prior to 1991: The back story 11

Planning for a new world city 12

The rise of finance and a new rationale for post-industrial London 13

A hiatus of government 16

The LDDC and a new era of pragmatism 16

3 The 1991 London:World City report and its message about London 19

Old rivals, new rivals 22

An agenda for metropolitan governance 24

Brand new: The promotion of London 26

The future knowledge economy 29

Section II The evolution of London, 1991 to 2015

4 The internationalisation of London’s economy 35

Internationalisation of London’s labour force 39

The global financial crisis and after 43

5 Leadership, governance and policy 47

1997 and a new direction for metropolitan government 52

The London Plan: A global city strategy 56

London boroughs 59

Promoting London 60

London’s governance today 66

6 Re-investment and urban regeneration 69

Cultural revitalisation of the South Bank: Lambeth, Southwark and Greenwich 72

New regeneration powers from 2000 74

Regeneration in perspective 77

From de-industrial to post-industrial: Building a new experience for markets, leisure and commerce 80

7 Corporate hub, officemarket and real estate 87

The rise and rise of tall buildings 88

The diffusion of London’s office geography 89

The transformative impact of foreign capital 93

8 Homes and housing in London 99

Consensus but complacency in the 1990s 100

The London Plan and a new agenda for housing 101

London’s housing predicament: Prospects and solutions 107

9 London’s evolving infrastructure platform 111

The impact of TfL and citywide government on transport 113

From incrementalism to integration? 117

Section III London today and in the future

10 World cities today 121

Measuring world cities in 2015 125

Emerging world cities 128

Insights from benchmarks about short- and long-term city success 132

11 London in the next decade: Implications of the rise of other world cities 135

Finance and business: Global leadership in a new context 138

Culture, diversity and destination 143

Higher education, technology and new sectors 145

Sustainability and liveability: Aspiration or reality? 149

Infrastructure, housing and skills 151

12 Investment in London: Challenges and solutions 159

London’s relationship with the UK 160

London’s constrained investment scene 162

The financial and investment capacity of London’s five principal rivals 166

London’s fiscal position in perspective 169

13 Eight imperatives for London 175

14 Lessons from London for other cities 187

Appendix 195

Bibliography 197

Index 219

“The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021, by leading global cities expert and Centre for London Associate Greg Clark, which is published this month, seeks to remedy this by considering how London got where it is today, and setting out the challenges still facing us.”  (Centre for London, 10 December 2014)