Comment: How could London reinvent the way we live and work after the pandemic?


Ondón has always reinvented itself after catastrophes. Looking ahead to the next decade, it seems that the pandemic could have as much of an impact on the way we live in the capital as the Great Fire of London or the Second World War.

The transformations of Stratford and Canada Water explored in these pages will be huge, but they have been in progress for years. It’s the more organic changes as London adjusts to a new reality that I think will be most interesting.

A stubborn preference for hybrid work has given the capital’s traditional commercial districts a sleepy air, pleasant for strolling, not very good for business.

As a result, office centers are struggling to reinvent themselves. Canary Wharf aspires to become a leisure destination, with paddle surfing, housing and schools.

The City of London is also working to mix up its offerings, while street life in areas like Soho is enjoying a resurgence.

Will the next decade see commuters heading to new, less central work areas, such as the Royal Docks (home to the new City Hall) and the burgeoning Greenwich Peninsula design district, with well-connected post-business hubs reserved for homes and fun?

Londoners could then enjoy the easy urban social life that the sprawling capital often fails at.

No crystal ball is infallible, but I am certainly captivated by that vision.

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