The density debate: how should London grow?

It has been well documented that there is a huge amount of residential and commercial space required to meet London’s future needs.

The debate around London’s density can be largely categorised into two key questions: how do we accommodate more homes and workspaces, given the unprecedented population and employment growth? And how should we deliver the quality of places that fit London’s status as a world-class capital city?

British Land has made a number of suggestions as to how London’s needs should be met; stronger, publicly-supported spatial planning to accelerate the delivery of new homes and jobs will be key. Infrastructure will also play a big part, as will placemaking partnerships, which will help deliver better places quicker.

While there are a number of potential interventions that would deliver quick wins, including prioritising schemes with accelerated housing delivery and initiating a public debate around the future shape of London, others will be radical and only achievable in the long-term.

These implementations will push the boundaries of how we meet London’s future needs and will be considered game-changers – planning at ‘Super City Region’ scales and creating a digital spatial plan of London are just two examples.

The density debate is an important one, but it must be considered in relation to the economic opportunity for growth and the challenges it would raise. And in many areas, increased housing density will need to be balanced with other viable alternatives, such as mixed use refurbishments, the redevelopment of brownfield sites and the benefits of relaxed permitted development rights, to ensure growth is not only timely, but sustainable too.