Comment: how might London reinvent how we live and work post-pandemic?
London has always reinvented itself in the wake of catastrophe. Looking ahead to the next decade, it seems the pandemic could have as much impact on how 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 have been in progress for years. It’s the more organic changes as London adapts to a new reality that I think will prove the most interesting.
A stubborn preference for hybrid working has lent the capital’s traditional business districts a sleepy air — pleasant for a stroll, not great for business.
As a result, office hubs are scrabbling to reinvent themselves. Canary Wharf hopes to become a leisure destination, with paddle-boarding, housing and schools.
The City of London is also working on mixing up its offering, while street life in areas such as Soho is enjoying a resurgence.
Will the next decade see commuters heading out to new, less central work areas such as 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’m certainly taken with that vision.