The City of London Corporation released its vision for the next five years to rebuild the Square Mile after the pandemic and Brexit.
It did so after the group surveyed more than 4,600 members of the public about their plans and validated the recommendations with around 250 executives. The company, in partnership with consulting firm Oliver Wyman, released a report on April 27th with a number of suggestions.
Here are some of the highlights:
1,500 new residential units
The company aims to have at least 1,500 new residential units on the Square Mile by 2030. These will be part of an “exploration” of new ways to use vacant space, as many offices in central London are vacant.
“There’s no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed some ways of working and accelerated some positive trends that were already evident in urban centers like the City of London,” said Alastair Moss, City of London Planning and Transportation Chairman Corporation said in a statement.
Many city firms have said that employees are likely to work in a hybrid fashion, dividing their time between the office and home. HSBC is the latest bank to announce a change to a hybrid working model “wherever possible”.
“We will work even more closely with the real estate sector to promote increasingly sustainable, flexible and adaptable buildings in which people will thrive,” added Moss. The report added that new developments and refurbishments will have a small ecological footprint.
“Businesses have told us that they are committed to maintaining a central London hub, but the way they work will inevitably change to reflect post-pandemic trends such as hybrid and flexible working,” said Catherine McGuinness, political chairman of the City of London Corporation.
5G over the Square Mile
The governing body will also seek to bring 5G to the Square Mile by the end of 2022.
The company announced that it will be working on a pilot project with mobile infrastructure service provider Cornerstone along Queen Victoria Street before extending coverage to the rest of the city.
In the summer, traffic-free Saturdays or Sundays could be introduced along with a nightly cultural celebration as the board of directors seeks to balance space use as workers split their time between their homes and the office.
These types of activities “will respond to changes in work patterns and potential periods of reduced usage, engage audiences through community-led content, and take them to retail and hospitality businesses when the city’s workforce is absent,” the report said .
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Cities have been badly hit by the restrictions imposed last year to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Businesses near offices have been particularly hard hit as workers continue to work from home.
“The Square Mile needs to evolve to create an ecosystem that will remain attractive to workers, visitors, learners and residents,” added McGuinness. “This includes nurturing growth, nurturing talent from all backgrounds, providing vibrant leisure activities, and providing outstanding environments.”
More pedestrian streets and wider sidewalks
The board of directors wants to make the city more accessible by creating more priority pedestrian streets, adding additional bicycle storage facilities and expanding the cycle path network.
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