Candidate: Borough/Bankside

Location: London, UK

Category: The Great Neighbourhood Award

Year: 2012

Learning Moments

1. A preferred office location, Bankside particularly is experiencing massive development pressure and is undergoing huge change, which is being mediated by the local authority who has put a strong planning policy framework in place which accommodates development while seeking to conserve the character of the area, improve the quality of public spaces, and provide opportunities for current residents

2. There is a mix of statutory, business, community, and social partners working together in Borough and Bankside, seemingly with the common goal of accommodating necessary growth, characterized by mutual understanding and effective working relationships rather than formal partnership arrangements

3. Public realm improvements are being made in two different strands of action: first, creating comfortable and legible north-south connections with the intent of making streets more attractive, and second, through bringing greenery into design and providing better outdoor public spaces

4. The Bankside Residents Forum (BRF) acts as an umbrella organization for local resident association, estate bodies, and community groups to address the challenges of managing and channelling community responses to development pressure, fulfilling a critical role in the partnership process, and is credible and respected by other partners

5. With substantial amounts of new floorspace having been created recently, a large number and variety of businesses have moved into the area, creating an excellent business environment in concert with the public realm improvements. The market is driven by proximity to the City, but the question remains whether the wealth created by the influx of business will flow into adjoining neighbourhoods

Assessment Summary

Borough / Bankside is an area of London which is undergoing huge change. Bankside is being transformed from a grimy, industrious inner city area to a gleaming destination for thousands of office workers and new residents, plus not a few tourists visiting the Tate Modern. To the south, Borough – separated by the railway viaduct – is a dense and fine-grained mix of residential, business and public space without the scale of transformational investment that Bankside is experiencing.

Bankside is undeniably successful at creating wealth. Substantial amounts of new commercial floor space have been created and large numbers of businesses have moved into the area.

Bankside has some great architecture, and is a superb example of how it is possible to design places using modern architecture which have beauty, variety, liveliness and interest. On the other end of the scale perhaps, Borough appears to have grown stronger as a community in recent years, however it is unfortunately too early to draw conclusions on social sustainability and community cohesion in Bankside. Even with the large numbers of new residents and workers moving into the Bankside area and development continuing apace, there do not yet appear to be any significant social or community issues.

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