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London Tall Buildings Policy

London, UK, 2002

Client: Greater London Authority (GLA)

In preparation for the publication of the first ‘London Plan’ since the establishment of London’s strategic planning authority, the GLA; the Authority commissioned consultancy DEGW to prepare a strategy for managing tall building development in the capital. Guy Briggs, then senior consultant at DEGW, managed the team responsible for developing the strategy.

The strategy had three primary aims: to examine the requirement for tall buildings in London both in terms of the London economy and the need for spatial intensification; to explore the impacts of tall buildings on infrastructure, demand, skyline and city views; and to produce a strategic policy framework for managing tall buildings and protecting views.

The premise behind the strategy was that despite the controversy generated by tall building proposals, they could have a positive urban impact on the city landscape. In order to do so, the strategy argues that: they should be located in areas of highest market demand, or potential demand, relating to their specific urban role; buildings that are significantly higher than their immediate context should be assessed both in terms of their impact on their immediate surroundings, and their impact at the wider city scale; and tall buildings should be designed to the highest standard to maximise their positive contribution, and to moderate potential impacts.

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