On Wednesday, the 30th January 2013, the second seminar in the new UEL Seminar Series ‘Beyond 2012: the Olympics and the Regeneration of East London’ took place at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in Straford.
The aim of the seminars is to explore the transformation of East London beyond 2012 and to create a knowledge platform that may inform the longer term social, economic and cultural development of the area. The seminars offer a space to discuss issues arising in the shaping of place in one of the world’s leading global cities, for instance: Are there any broader, longer term plans for East London to maximise the Olympic contribution to the city’s expansion eastwards? What else is happening, or should be happening, to deliver the better quality of life to local residents? Who is responsible for drawing up and managing such a plan? What roles should the public and private sectors and international investors play in the expansion of the city eastwards?
“Towards a post-2012 development plan for East London”
Over the last few decades East London has never been short of development ambition – Water City, Thames Gateway, Arc of Opportunity, Digital peninsula, planned riverside communities and new quarters, and it now has an impressive set of elements – global financial centre, entertainments complex, exhibition centre and now the Olympic Park, which were unthinkable even thirty years ago. But large gaps still remain, and a credible big picture of how it will evolve into the new century, based around a clear understanding of its role in 21st century London, is harder to find.
The invited guest speakers Eric Sorensen and Martin Crookston opened the evening with their insightful presentations, followed by a lively debate chaired by Ralph Ward. The seminar was attended by around 60 participants from a wide range of background. Some of them have published their thoughts and comments on their blogs, e.g. Prof. Michael Edwards (University College London) has published detailed notes of the presentations and the subsequent discussion on his blog http://michaeledwards.org.uk and Jackie Sadek’s (UK Regeneration) thoughts on the event can be found here http://www.estatesgazette.com/blogs/jackie-sadek/2013/02/backing-protectionism-in-the-east-end.html.
Some background information on the special guests of this seminar
Eric Sorensen has been at the centre of urban policy and practice in London for decades. As a senior civil servant he managed the first inner city Directorate at the then Department of Education (DoE), before moving on to become chief executive of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) from 1991 to its closure in 1997. He led the London Development Partnership which advised the incoming Mayor in 2000 on strategic priorities for London, and then led the London Thames Gateway Partnership. He has recently retired as Chief Executive of the Central London Partnership.
Martin Crookston is one of the most experienced and respected consultants in the country in the field of regeneration and urban planning. As Director of Llewellyn Davies he managed the East Thames Corridor study for Michael Heseltine which gave rise to the Thames Gateway and has undertaken numerous studies on east London issues, including Thames River crossings and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, where he helped prepare the case for Stratford station. Recently he has been advising Tower Hamlets on Olympic legacy.
Ralph Ward has recently retired from Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as their planning and regeneration adviser on Thames Gateway and Olympic legacy. He worked in the London Development Unit in Government Office for London (GOL) when it managed London’s strategic development issues prior to the arrival of the GLA, and before that as a senior development planner for LDDC. He is now a visiting Professor at LERI, UEL.