Successful cities must adapt to a changing world, and a focus on Good Growth provides an opportunity to become more efficient and resilient. A responsible city must limit its impact on climate change while adapting to the consequences of the environmental changes that human behaviour is already creating. Global cities also face other threats against which London must protect its residents and visitors, and proper strategic planning can help to make the city a safer place.
All cities must face up to the reality of climate change and the need to limit their future contribution to this major global problem. This London Plan will require developments to contribute towards London’s ambitious target to become zero carbon by 2050 by increasing energy efficiency, including through the use of smart technologies, and utilising low carbon energy sources. Creating a low carbon circular economy, in which the greatest possible value is extracted from resources before they become waste, is not only socially and environmentally responsible, but will save money and limit the likelihood of environmental threats affecting London’s future.
These environmental threats are real and present, and London must be prepared for them. London’s homes and infrastructure must be protected against the increasing likelihood of heatwaves, and developments must plan for a more integrated approach to water management, while protecting against flood risk.
Equally significant in a global city is the threat of terrorism, and new forms of attack require new forms of defence. Large-scale fires also remain a possibility in London. As public places are made safer and existing housing is improved, these threats underline the importance of collaborative planning with London’s police forces and public safety experts, and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
Careful planning of strategic and local infrastructure in all its forms can make the city smarter, more efficient and more resilient, preparing it for all that the future may bring. This will require collaboration between the infrastructure industry and planning authorities to determine what is needed where in order to plan for London’s future, using the framework established by the Mayor’s Strategic Infrastructure Investment Plan.
Ensuring sufficient housing at the right price is also key to the city’s resilience. The shortage of affordable housing in the capital is hindering the recruitment and retention of public service workers, including those crucial to the operation of the emergency services, the health system and London’s transport infrastructure.
To help London become a more efficient and resilient city, those involved in planning and development must:
- seek to improve energy efficiency and support the move towards a low carbon circular economy, contributing towards London becoming a zero carbon city by 2050.
- ensure buildings and infrastructure are designed to adapt to a changing climate, making efficient use of water, reducing impacts from natural hazards like flooding and heatwaves, and avoiding contributing to the urban heat island effect.
- create a safe and secure environment which is resilient against the impact of emergencies including fire and terrorism.
- take an integrated approach to the delivery of strategic and local infrastructure by ensuring that public, private, community and voluntary sectors plan and work together.