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How should London grow?

29 January 2016
  • London could be as dense as Bangkok, Osaka and Rio de Janiero by 2041.[1]
  • London is projected to grow by a million over the coming ten years and a further 500,000 in the decade after that.[2]
  • Between 49,000 and 62,000 homes a year are needed – but there is currently only space for 42,000 homes to be built annually. [3]

The London Assembly Planning Committee has today warned that the next Mayor must start planning for London’s future from the day they collect the keys to City Hall.

‘Up or Out: A false choice. Options for London’s growth’ outlines a menu of options for accommodating London’s growth. It considers approaches such as increasing the density of some parts of suburbs, regenerating estates, and building new and expanded towns outside London’s boundaries.

It also explores different - but complementary - approaches for meeting this growth:

  • Up – are more skyscrapers and modern towers set to define our skyline?
  • Out – can we build to a higher density in outer London while preserving our green spaces?


Nicky Gavron AM, Chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee, said:

“Now is the time to start planning for London in the 2020s and 2030s The big question is: how should London grow - and in which direction?

The current trajectory has been new and expanded towns within London. This report sets out a series of options – some of which support that approach, others which take it in a new direction. We do not endorse all of the ideas we considered, but nothing was off the table.

These are tough decisions. Whoever wins the Mayoralty, Londoners will expect leadership to make sure the capital doesn’t stand still.  We need bold new ideas to accommodate our growing population in a way that is sustainable and improves quality of life.

This pressing issue should be at the very top of the next Mayor’s inbox. Inaction is not an option.” 

Read the full report.

Notes to editors

  1. City Mayors Group,
  2. London Plan 2015, para graph 1.10E.
  3. The London Plan, Greater London Authority, 3.16b and 3.17, March 2015.
  4. Nicky Gavron AM, Chair of the Planning Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
  6. The report is based on a series of investigations undertaken by the Planning Committee.

For media enquiries, please contact Ash Singleton on 020 7983 5769.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.