How would Londoners know if they live in the actual city? They probably don’t.
How would Londoners know if they live in the actual city? They probably don’t.
London England is always slightly ahead of the curve and the Evening Standard reports on the cutting edge work of a community alliance formed by “London Living Streets, 20s Plenty for Us and Living Streets”, to make them more comfortable and safer for all users. They are calling for “segregated cycle lanes, the removal of gyratory systems and a default, London-wide 20mph speed limit.” as well as a ban on those large digital advertising signs, the removal of central white lines on roads, and the use of speed cameras on all bridges.
By introducing these concepts as well as narrowing streets and full time, capital-wide road-pricing they believe that fatalities and serious injuries can be alleviated. Other recommendations are regulating autonomous vehicle speeds, and ensuring that trucks have side baffles to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists are not dragged under the truckbeds at corners.
“Some of these policies have been considered before but it has been very piecemeal,” said group spokesman Jeremy Leach. “We have already seen support for this from the new Mayor’s administration and Transport for London but we want them all pulled together under an effective ‘Vision Zero’ policy. We know from looking at other cities that these measures work. It would be daft not to try them.”
An exquisitely produced essay on London’s profile and prospects – and an illustration of the Florida thesis below, applied to Britain.
Worth checking out to see a fine example of contemporary online ‘newspaper’ design.
The BBC wades in on how the Police in London are dealing with a bicycle planning issue-Police officers in Camden Borough will no longer be charging cyclists who ride on the sidewalk or “pavements”, but instead examine why the cyclists are choosing sidewalks instead of the road. These officers are also following a protocol first adopted by the West Midlands Police, who are also enforcing a vehicular passing distance of 1.5 meters when overtaking a cyclist. Get closer to a cyclist, you will be stopped.
The intent is to discover what areas the cyclists feel “forced” off the road. It is the 1835 Highways Act which makes it an offence to ride on the sidewalk, and includes a penalty of 50 British pounds (about 82 Canadian dollars). Enforcement is up to the Police, and discretion is asked when dealing with children riding on sidewalks.
There is also some pushback from pedestrians, some that feel “more at risk from cyclists than cars and would not like to see the police dropping fines”. Many seniors are also very wary of cyclists on sidewalks, fearing the sudden movement will make them fall. Research undertaken by Victoria Walks in Australia shows that the ramifications of a fall to an older senior can mean death in months.
Sustrans, an organisation promoting sustainable transport noted “Many people in the UK do not feel confident or safe riding a bicycle on our roads. If we are to encourage cycling as an efficient and healthier way to get around our towns and cities whilst reducing cycling on pavements we need to better understand the concerns and needs of people and provide adequate cycle provision for them.”
Meanwhile,” Living Streets, a campaign group for pedestrians, wants better enforcement of the law, not less. Dr Rachel Lee, policy and research coordinator for Living Streets, says: “We know most cyclists prefer to use the road, but a small minority continue to ride their bicycles on the pavement for reasons of convenience or safety. This can make pedestrians feel vulnerable – especially those who are visually impaired, suffer hearing loss or have mobility issues. Although Camden’s emphasis on education is welcome, cycling on pavements is illegal. We want better enforcement of the law.”
One of the most iconic sights in London England is the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower. The chimes in the tower are called “Big Ben”. The Indy 100 notes that when the chimes were to be silent while renovation work was being done, a letter was received from an eight year old girl who offered to “shout “BONG” before the BBC news comes on while the bells are out of action”.
BBC News actually responded to this girl’s concern.
Re. Big Ben’s Bongs (lack of).
“Dear Miss Hanson,
Thank you for your letter and your very imaginative idea about what to do when Big Ben falls silent for repairs early next year. Some of the cleverest and most important people at the BBC are scratching their heads, wondering quite what to do….
So it would be quite a task for you, doing the Bongs: you’d have to rush in after school each day (and at the weekend), rush home for tea, homework, a bit of chillin’, then a quick sleep. And then – here’s the hard bit – you’d have to rush back again at midnight, because there are live bongs again before the midnight news. That’s an awful lot of work for someone who is still quite young. I know I wouldn’t like to do all that.
Thank you very much for writing to us. I’m very impressed that you listen to Radio 4. I wish my two children did.
Have a spiffing Christmas and a stupendous and lucky 2017.
Editor: PM, Broadcasting House, iPM – BBC Radio 4″
Tens of thousands of lorries with poor visibility will be banned from London’s roads within four years to better protect cyclists and pedestrians, the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced….
Lorries are involved in more than half the cycling deaths on London’s roads, and more than a fifth of pedestrian deaths, despite making up only 4% of motor traffic.
Khan’s plans, immediately welcomed by cycling groups, will give construction trucks and other HGVs a star-based safety rating from zero to five, based on the amount of vision the driver has.
By January 2020, those with a zero rating – primarily construction trucks with a high cab and big clearance under the wheels – will be banned. By 2024, only trucks rated three stars – “good” – or above will be allowed in the city.
From the next financial year, Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority will not sign any contracts that involve the use of zero-starred trucks.
Khan’s office said there were currently around 35,000 zero-rated trucks operating in London, and that over the past three years they had been involved in about 70% of the cyclist deaths involving HGVs.
Has Vancouver found the solution to a super-heated housing market?
There is a city which is suffering a worse property bubble than Sydney, whose residents are more priced-out than Londoners, and where there is a greater divide between the housing haves and have-nots than even San Francisco.
That city is Vancouver, and in response to these mounting challenges, the west-coast Canadian metropolis recently imposed an extraordinary new tax on foreign buyers – whose impact is now being watched closely by other cities grappling with bloated property markets.
On 2 August, Vancouver introduced a tax on anyone from outside Canada wanting to buy a home in its super-heated market. In future, city authorities said, if you weren’t Canadian, you would have to pay an extra 15% on the purchase price.
The impact has, by some measures, been more startling than campaigners could have hoped for. The price of the average detached home reportedly slumped by an astonishing 16.7% in August alone to C$1.47m (£856,000), according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Some agents are reporting that the market has gone from red hot to stone cold in a matter of weeks….
Vancouver’s experiment is being closely watched in London. According to London Assembly member Sian Berry, who stood as the Green party’s candidate for mayor: “Vancouver shows that the very rich buying up luxury flats at the expense of ordinary people is not just a London problem – it’s a growing problem all over the world.
|Switzerland||Restriction||The Lex Koller restricts where and what size property non-residents can buy: non-residents are confined to buying in key holiday zones, predominately in ski resorts and areas surrounding both Montreux and Lugano; the maximum size is 200 sq m of living space, not including balconies or basement areas. The Lex Weber sets a 20% cap on number of second homes per Swiss commune: the law applies to residents and non-residents alike and if the area of the property falls under the jurisdiction of a commune that has already exceeded this limit it is impossible to sell unless the property is already owned as a secondary residence|
|China||Restriction||Qualifying foreign individuals and companies are allowed to buy as many properties as they wish on the Chinese mainland, but they are subject to local housing purchase limits. In Shanghai, for example, people without a Shanghai household registration are only allowed to buy one property|
|New Zealand||Restriction||A tax on second home properties bought and sold within two years has been introduced. Foreign buyers also have to apply for a government ID number for tax purposes. Some NZ Banks are refusing to provide mortgages for non-residents|
|Fuji||Restriction||Land sales in towns restricted to domestic buyers only. Foreigners who currently own houses in Fiji cannot sell it to other non-residents. Foreigners who already own land but have not built a house must do so within two years or face a fine of 10% of the property’s value every six months|
|US||Restriction||The identities of buyers for all-cash purchases are now required in Manhattan, Miami-Dade County, California and Texas|
|Canada||Restriction||In Vancouver, foreign buyers must pay a new 3% property transfer tax rate applied to the portion of a home sale that exceeds C$2m. Additionally, there is a new 15% property tax for foreign buyers purchasing within the Metro Vancouver area|
|Indonesia||Restriction||Foreign nationals who are resident can buy a landed house or apartment in Indonesia, though various requirements must be met, including a minimum price|
|India||Restriction||A foreign national of non-Indian origin, resident outside India cannot purchase any immovable property in India unless such property is acquired by way of inheritance from a person who was resident in India|
|Vietnam||Restriction||Foreigners are not allowed to own land|
|Hong Kong||Restriction||Foreigners can buy property but must pay a 15% additional buyer’s stamp duty|
|Singapore||Restriction||Foreigners must pay a 15% additional buyer’s stamp duty|
|Australia||Restriction||Foreigners can buy new dwellings but cannot buy established dwellings as investment properties or as homes. Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales charge foreign buyers extra stamp duty. Some states also charge extra land tax|
|Spain||Incentive||The Spanish government is preparing a new law which will allow non-EU residents who purchase homes priced above €500,000 to qualify for Spanish residency|
|Portugal||Incentive||Portugal allows non-EU investors to gain residency. To qualify new arrivals need to either transfer €1m+ in capital to Portugal, set up a business that creates a minimum of 30 jobs or purchase a property of €500,000+|
|Greece||Incentive||Foreign nationals from non-EU countries who have bought property worth more than €250,000 are able to obtain five-year renewable residence permits for themselves and their families|
|Turkey||Incentive||Turkey allows 183 nationalities to purchase real estate without restrictions. Other incentives include automatic one year residency permits for foreign property owners and the right of Turkish citizenship after five years|
|Cyprus||Incentive||Non-EU nationals who purchase a property above €300,000 have the right to residency|
Earlier this month the Financial Times ran an article, as every newspaper has done many times before, headlined “Has London’s property price bubble burst?” The report was well researched and judicious, as you would expect. The conclusion, roughly, was “Probably not, but you never know”, which is all one can ever say safely. The only problem was the word “bubble”. …
It has become an entirely different phenomenon: a ceaselessly rising tide, occasionally drawing back after one wave breaks, but only to regather force for the next, even stronger, surge. This tide has not lifted all boats, but it has lifted a great many: metropolitan middle-class members of the baby-boom generation in particular, but others too. (Some have of course been drowned, but there you go.) …
The outlines of this phenomenon have become so familiar that only rarely does anyone stand back and consider quite how astonishing it all is, and the extent to which the consequences have permeated every aspect of British life.
Three years ago, the London-based American journalist Michael Goldfarb did stand back, for an op-ed column in the New York Times, which went viral, pointing out something that had not then been widely understood: how the most expensive London homes had ceased to be places to live and had become a store of global money. “Almost nothing has changed,” says Goldfarb now, “except that all the stresses in the system have got deeper. It will take an epochal catastrophe – like the great depression followed by a war – to allow ordinary people to get into the housing market. But no one will say this. It will be a London without Londoners.
“The one thing that has changed is that people will now rent rather than buy. But has there been anything done to protect tenants? Nothing. None of that conversation is being had, and it’s shocking.” …
There are also strange sub-phenomena now taking place, designed to keep the mad times rolling. Parents are sinking their profits back into the market to help their children into the game. Well-off baby-boomer provincials are downsizing and moving to London to be near their children. Old houses that were subdivided into flats decades ago are now being undivided again, further reducing the stock of homes. …
Variations on the theme are happening across London. Even a decade ago, transport zones 1 and 2 were full of areas whose very name would make one’s mother faint. (“You’re going to live in Hoxton?!”) Now the respectability-map is being infilled.
From John Graham:
On 10 January, The Metropolitan Railway opens the world’s first underground railway, between Paddington (then called Bishop’s Road) and Farringdon Street. This is what the first ride looked like:
And transit riders think they’re in cattle cars today!
Bike-share systems, which make fleets of bicycles available for common use in a city (usually for a small fee), are catching on. As this detailed bike-share map shows, there are now close to 900 in operation in cities across the world. …
What’s been lacking? Cool animated visualizations of bike-share traffic in major cities, that’s what.
But have no fear! Visual designers Till Nagel and Christopher Pietsch, of Potsdam, Germany, have answered the call.
The first real signs of distress in the market for luxury London apartments are starting to emerge, as investors who agreed to buy homes off-plan are starting to sell them on for less than they agreed to pay for them. …
George Shishkovsky, managing director of LondonDom, insisted the sales were not a result of the UK’s Brexit vote or a fall in confidence in the market. “It’s all about people’s circumstances,” he said. “Usually people buying off-plan do so two or three years before completion and in that time circumstances can change.” …
Henry Pryor, who buys homes in London for wealthy clients, said he believed that the top end of the market had peaked and that currency gains wouldn’t make up for the fact that many flats had simply been overpriced: “Sterling-based property may be 10% cheaper for foreign buyers but much of it was 30% overpriced.” He added: “Expect to see more of this as the post-Brexit [vote] reality bites.” …
Reports suggest there has been a sharp slowdown in the number of sales in London’s new-build market. According to research by consultancy firm Molior London, developers sold 4,600 new-build homes in the April to June period including off-plan sales, a 23% fall from the figure of just under 6,000 in the first quarter of the year. …
Durrani said the prime central London market had been slowing for more than a year, but had been “amplified” by the referendum result. “We are at the stage where a slight correction was inevitable and may actually be positive for the market. It will help with affordability issues and may in fact help with the long stalled natural recycling times of property on the market, resulting in a more regular level of transactions,” he said. …
The French bank Société Générale said last week that prices in London’s most expensive boroughs could slump by as much as 50% in the wake of the vote for Brexit.
The kind of changes unimaginable not a few years ago:
London – from the BBC:
Oxford Street will be pedestrianised by 2020, the mayor of London’s office has said.
All traffic including buses and taxis will be banned from the shopping street – one of the most famous in the world – as part of Sadiq Khan’s plans to tackle air pollution.
More than four million people visit Oxford Street each week.
City Hall said the project would be rolled out in two stages to reduce disruption on the 1.2-mile street.
Paris – from CityLab:
Last year, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to makeover seven major Parisian squares. This March, following a public consultation, Paris City Hall came up with the goods, providing detailed plans that will transform these famous, beautiful spaces in the period between now and 2020.
Looking at the details, it seems the city’s ambitions haven’t so far been diluted. Each square will be semi-pedestrianized—literally so, as a mandatory 50 percent of each square’s surface area will be given over to pedestrians. This means slicing away large sections of space currently allotted to cars, abolishing some lanes and slowing traffic in others. In each square, road vehicles will be restricted to lanes with a maximum width of 12 meters (39 feet), with the rest ceded to pedestrians and cyclists.
Thanks to Adrian Bell at TransLink, I had invitations to meet with some of the good people at Transport for London – the British capital’s TransLink. Prior to the meetings, I asked for some highlights of places I should see around London, and they quickly got back to me with a great list of highlights.
So I’m going to share it with you:
At least three schemes to be seen in the area the old town; Venn street and a short bus ride to Van Gogh walk.
Clapham Old Town consists of a series of public realm improvements that aimed to reduce traffic dominance and provide a better environment for walking. The scheme followed the success of the conversion of Venn Street to shared space.
Van Gogh Walk was a community led scheme to create a new public space on a residential street – an urban park with sculptures and space for play.
Cycle Superhighways – North/South and East/West, Cycle Super Highway 2 and Cycle Super Highway 1 (particularly Pitfield Street, Apex Corner and Leonard’s Circus)
Quietways will be a network of radial and orbital cycle routes throughout London. Linking key destinations, they will follow backstreet routes, through parks, along waterways or tree-lined streets.
The routes will overcome barriers to cycling, targeting cyclists who want to use quieter, low-traffic routes, providing an environment for those cyclists who want to travel at a more gentle pace.
Each Quietway will provide a continuous route for cyclists and every London borough will benefit from the programme. This network will complement other cycling initiatives such as the Central London Cycling Grid, Cycle Superhighways and Mini-Hollands.
Royal College Street – one of the first schemes in London to use ‘light segregation’ (planters, rubber blocks and parking) to create cycle lanes. A traffic lane removed to create space for cycling, and enable the removal of an older bidirectional track that resulted in a high number of collisions at junctions.
Tavistock Place – ongoing trial using light segregation to assess impacts/benefits of conversion to a one-way street for motor vehicles, allowing space to be reallocated to cycling. Prior to the trial cycle lane was bidirectional and very crowded.
Vauxhall Walk Rain Gardens – pocket park incorporating sustainable drainage
Bonnington Square – reduced carriageway and extended footways provide space for outdoor seating and improve connectivity with community garden
Aldgate – Aldgate is in the final stages of being transformed from a gyratory to two-way system, enabling the creation of a new public space.
Braham Street Park was created during an earlier phase of the project – the conversion of Whitechapel High Street to two-way freed up road space for the development of offices and new public space.
Euston Circus or Holborn Circus – both these schemes have created new public space and improved the pedestrian environment by rationalising traffic movement through the junctions. Euston Circus is particularly notable as it has helped reduce pedestrian severance across one of central London’s busiest junctions
Regent Street, Glasshouse Street, etc – Public realm improvements, decluttering and enhanced pedestrian crossings along the length of Regents Streets. Smaller streets such as Glasshouse Street have also benefitted from public realm improvements. Ham Yard and Denman Place are examples of new development improving pedestrian permeability and unlocking neglected public spaces.
Waltham Forest as the most progressed Mini Hollands.
Tottenham Court Road – incorporates a new approach to limiting traffic (and managing freight) in the centre
Better Streets Delivered 2 (new version to be published very soon)
Michael Mortensen: “Strange urban dystopias? New urban nomads? Or a new connected society? Have not seen a single kid yet in any of these videos.”
pricetags: Astonishing how this story finds its parallels in Vancouver, San Francisco and other cities attracting world capital.
The air of unreality about these hip house floggers is entirely fitting. House prices are unreal. Ridiculous. Every day there are stories about the insanity of our current housing crisis, but it goes on and on. We laugh at images of what are basically cupboards for sale or rent. We cry or sigh with identification at the tales of young folk who can never really leave home.
Except that some are not so young. Fortysomethings are having to move back in with their parents after marital bust-ups or because they no longer manage their own housing costs, the so-called “doomerang generation”. …
What does it now mean to be an adult if the old markers of adulthood become out of reach? Levels of home ownership are in decline. We now have a fully fledged caste system delineated by property.
This is happening in the US, too. Wages for under-30s are going down. International surveys indicate that what millennials crave is job security. Lack of security also means delaying that other marker of maturity – having a baby – often indefinitely. All over the world, women are choosing not to procreate. This is entirely understandable. Why would women have children when their jobs are not secure? Many younger women feel their choices have been absolutely narrowed.
A global downturn has meant that many of the foundation stones that we used to mark adulthood have been dug up, so that everything feels a bit shaky.
Ian: Remind anyone of Coal Harbour? (Or likely Vancouver House … or….)
Almost two-thirds of homes in the Tower, a 50-storey apartment complex inLondon, are in foreign ownership, with a quarter held through secretive offshore companies based in tax havens, a Guardian investigation has revealed.
The first residents of the landmark development arrived in October 2013, but many of the homes are barely occupied, with some residents saying they only use them for a fraction of the year.
The revelations about the Tower are likely to be seized on by campaigners and politicians as the starkest example yet of the housing crisis gripping the capital, in which too many new homes are sold abroad as investments and left largely empty while fewer and fewer young people can afford to buy or even rent in the city.
Thinking about Little Mountain, for instance, where there is essentially zero affordable housing added net, this kind of boldness on behalf of the city – especially in avoiding the same sort of watered down affordability description that Vancouver uses as a metric – might actually start addressing people’s ability to live in London, and could do so for Vancouver also!
At the start of his second week in office, the Labour mayor told the Guardian he wanted more than 50% of homes on some new housing developments to be affordable. He said that did not mean 80% of market rent, as affordable is defined by the government, but far lower social rents or “London living rent”, which is pitched at a third of average incomes.
Khan also announced he was considering making it a condition of planning permission that new homes were marketed locally for at least six months before they could go on sale to foreign investors.
“There is no point in building homes if they are bought by investors in the Middle East and Asia,” he said. “I don’t want homes being left empty. I don’t want us to be the world’s capital for money laundering. I want to give first dibs to Londoners.”
In 2013, 15% of new homes in London were sold to foreign buyers, according to research by the British Property Federation and Molior, a consultancy.
City hall officials have calculated that last year the lowest number of affordable homes was built in London since records began in 1991 – just 4,880. Khan said he wanted to build 50,000 of all types of housing a year.
How to make a case for spending big bucks to build rail transport? “Social inclusion” are not just nice words in a policy paper.
The real case was all about sustaining the growing economy of London and fostering social inclusion. There were many suggestions around the area of creating jobs more spread across the city but economists made a strong case based on London’s key export – finance and business services. This led to an important city concept where the most efficient way of conducting such business is in one concentrated location. This is now referred to as “the agglomeration effect”.
The other key component not reflected in traditional transport business cases is social inclusion. It was important to find a way of expressing this in a simple way rather than just saying that it is an important policy issue. This was expressed in economic terms by looking at the economic case. The agglomeration effect can only work with sustainable high volume transport (Hong Kong style), requiring a massive increase in capacity over the legacy system. However, for example, for every job in the financial and business services sector there are 4 support jobs (IT, maintenance, cleaning etc). These jobs do not pay as well, but the city cannot function without them.
The agglomeration effect formed the business case for the massive Crossrail project, but social inclusion was also a major factor, particularly in justifying upgrades of radial main line railway routes and the completely new Overground network with its orbital line now completed right round London. This addressed the need to provide a viable alternative to the car and importantly provided alternative non-city-center routings for many cross-city journeys. Both Moscow and Paris have adopted a similar approach.
Architecture critic of The Guardian, Rowan Moore, isn’t pleased in the last months of Boris Johnson’s London.
It’s not just about tall buildings, although the number of towers higher than 20 storeys proposed for London now stands at more than 400. It’s also about bloated, bulging, light-blocking buildings of medium height, and about the limited attempts to insist on design quality, or to get new developments to create neighbourhoods that are more than a sum of their parts, or have any meaningful relationships with the areas into which they are inserted.