HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2018, 11:11 AM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
Is Richmond the Nimbyest Place in London? (FT)

An interesting article for those who want to understand London development dynamics and politics, plus some generally applicable commentary on the problems with “affordable” housing requirements.

Quote:
UK property
Is Richmond the Nimbyest place in London?


The borough has approved just 31% of new developments

SEPTEMBER 26, 2018 by George Hammond

In Richmond upon Thames, planning decisions can turn as quickly as the tide. A block of riverside flats was waved through by the Conservative council in March, despite local consternation. “These final proposals are once again ghastly, bland, monolithic suburban architecture at pretty much the lowest common denominator,” vented one consultation respondent. Two months later, the Liberal Democrats took power and promptly mothballed the scheme.

The incident in south-west London has drawn accusations of Nimbyism: claims that residents are willing to see development, so long as it’s “not in my back yard”. The accusers may have a point. Proposals for 1,991 new homes have been submitted to the council since January 2015, according to Savills’ development database. To date, the council has considered 940 of those applications and granted just 31 per cent, the lowest proportion of any London borough — making Richmond, perhaps, the Nimbyest place in the capital. London-wide, an average of 86 per cent of applications were granted over the same period.

...

In fact, the best proxy for Nimbyism seems to be location. Despite having a far lower density of housing than more central areas, the 14 boroughs that span London’s periphery have rejected twice the proportion of applications since January 2015: 22 per cent against 10 per cent, according to Savills’ development database. “Look at the demographic profile of those areas,” says property market analyst Neal Hudson. “They’re much more likely to be older and homeowners: a typical Nimby profile, a generation who’ve done very well out of housing, making them, at worst, a little selfish.”

...

“There’s physical scope to add vastly more homes. If London had as many homes per square mile as Kensington and Chelsea, it would have double the number of homes,” says John Myers, whose organisation London Yimby (yes in my back yard) advocates for more homes in London and for the extension of existing properties. “The easiest way to fix it: take a typical semi-detached house in outer London and turn that into a Georgian terrace,” he adds.

Unfortunately the FT pay wall is quite strict.

https://www.ft.com/content/8665991c-...d-2f1cbc7ee27c
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov

Last edited by 10023; Oct 1, 2018 at 11:27 AM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2018, 11:27 AM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
That last point is spot on. You don’t need highrises. You don’t need to build on greenbelt. You don’t need to destroy old prewar housing stock to increase density.

You just need to replace shitty early 20th century suburban developments with 18th-19th century style terraces (six-story walls of apartments) or rowhouses. Kensington & Chelsea is the wealthiest part of London but also the densest, and has very few highrises.

Turn this :
https://goo.gl/maps/TmpUBHKwCxH2

Into this :
https://goo.gl/maps/UuvXUi9xcLy


The graphic is interesting:

__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2018, 10:50 PM
Qubert Qubert is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 347
To be fair, it should really be surprising that not-so-dense areas are going to be far more stringent over new housing than already dense areas. If you choose to live in K&C, Islington, Tower Hamelts, et al your making a choice to lead a urbane life. People in Outer London probably are there for the reason of wanting exactly the opposite.

Here in NY it's no different. There's a reason Williamsburg can sprout towers like Sim City but try to put an addition on a building in Park Slope and have windows blow out from all the screaming.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 12:05 AM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
^ That example makes no sense. Park Slope is also dense, and until recently perhaps even denser than Williamsburg.

The more important fact is that it’s he less dense areas that have the space, and where land values and property values are low enough that new housing can actually be affordable.
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 2:23 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,057
If you filled Richmond Park with 14,000/km2 apartment buildings how many people would that house?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 8:40 PM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
If you filled Richmond Park with 14,000/km2 apartment buildings how many people would that house?
I know you’re joking, but what an absolutely horrible idea.

Now, bulldozing postwar areas like this and starting over completely might be an idea:

https://goo.gl/maps/hXS3bLuc9362

You’d also need to roll back the building regulations that prevent new terraced housing, and develop new neighborhoods that look like what the Georgians and Victorians built. Pre-war (and I really mean, pre-WW1) neighborhoods are simply better and more desirable.

Here’s the problem (unfortunately the article is light on the details), but the crux of it is correct:

Quote:
However the bigger problem is British planning law, under which Georgian architecture is impossible to build because of well-meaning regulations; some of the most beautiful and sought after houses in London break up to 12 different rules.
https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/0...ty-affordable/
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov

Last edited by 10023; Oct 2, 2018 at 8:54 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 9:28 PM
Doady's Avatar
Doady Doady is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,396
I am not in favour of wholesale demolition of neighbourhoods, not even of post-war neighbourhoods. I'd rather see piecemeal organic growth of cities instead of huge masterplanned communities everywhere.

Wholesale demolition of existing neighbourhoods happened a lot in the USA during the 50s and 60s and you probably know how that turned out.

No, new developments should be focused on adding to or enhancing existing neighbourhoods, not replacing them. Being confrontational only leads to confrontation (i.e. NIMBYism).
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2018, 10:02 PM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doady View Post
I am not in favour of wholesale demolition of neighbourhoods, not even of post-war neighbourhoods. I'd rather see piecemeal organic growth of cities instead of huge masterplanned communities everywhere.

Wholesale demolition of existing neighbourhoods happened a lot in the USA during the 50s and 60s and you probably know how that turned out.

No, new developments should be focused on adding to or enhancing existing neighbourhoods, not replacing them. Being confrontational only leads to confrontation (i.e. NIMBYism).
Well, a couple of issues with that:

1) First of all, all the 19th century neighborhoods that people love so much were master planned as well. The streets of terraced housing all over London were built en masse. In fact, you can’t get a nice street of rowhouses or terraced flats without building whole neighborhoods at once.

This is a “master-planned” neighborhood, built by the Grosvenor estate in the early 1800s:

https://goo.gl/maps/qYodwBZWAiQ2

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eaton_Square

This sort of development is also capable of sustaining much higher densities (assuming equivalent square footage per residence) than postwar development, even with highrises.

Onslow Gardens was also planned:
https://goo.gl/maps/b2JppRVD4gN2

And Cadogan Square:
https://goo.gl/maps/HstCvVEmW6n

And Holland Park:
https://goo.gl/maps/amfmnzpVYR42

And Ladbroke Square:
https://goo.gl/maps/vrrge4Gw7Zt

The reason that the most desirable, intact neighborhoods in London have a consistent look, but all look a bit different from each other, is that they were all planned developments. And planned privately - whatever aristocratic family owned the land (which at the time might have been farmed or used for grazing sheep) simply hired an architect and developed it.

Or, you know, most of central Paris.

The problem in the 1950s and 60s wasn’t the idea of large scale development. It was that people lost their minds and decided they were going to build cities that were fundamentally different from the way people had been building them for thousands of years, which was stupid and didn’t work.


2) Postwar development was so absolutely piss poor, not just architecturally but from a planning standpoint, that you can’t fashion a decent neighborhood without bulldozing and starting over. It would be like trying to shoehorn a real pre-war neighborhood into Schaumburg’s mess of cul-de-sacs.

I mean, look at this:
https://goo.gl/maps/anc6xQiEHMr

Above - the Jubilee line passes right under it, and it would be one stop from Canary Wharf and three stops from London Bridge:
https://goo.gl/maps/AUhiFmPWjat

Or for a denser version - this could be redeveloped into both denser and better looking, more desirable neighborhoods. But it needs to be replaced whole blocks at a time, at least:
https://goo.gl/maps/XEUMDWJoWm82

To do anything with these, you don’t just need to replace the structures, but completely alter the road layouts, etc as well. You need to get rid of the pointless cul-de-sacs (it doesn’t need to be a grid, but roads should go somewhere) and reconnect them to the urban fabric of the city.

In fact the more investment and piecemeal development goes into them, the more difficult it will be to actually fix them.
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov

Last edited by 10023; Oct 2, 2018 at 10:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:47 AM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,057
The problem with bulldozing entire neighborhoods is that they are already owned and lived in by hundreds or thousands of existing inhabitants, and those people are going to be very resistant to the idea of having their homes demolished. Everybody has a price of course and it's probably possible to buy them all out by offering above market value for those properties but then the new project is already saddled with massive costs even before demolition has started.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2018, 11:10 AM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,057
I wonder what those 12 rules they would break are? Fire regs? Disability access? You get new developments of terraced housing/apartments in vaguely Georgian/Victorian style (or at least with a nod towards that kind of architecture here in my town sometimes so it is possible I think. Those are usually infill though rather than entire masterplanned neighborhoods.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 3:16 PM
Rational Plan3 Rational Plan3 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Those Georgian and Victorian terraces were not urban redevelopment though. They were built on greenfields, just like modern suburbs. They were just built to pre motor car needs.

Most of those estates were not built by one developer either. A landowner would lay a new road down and then sell leases on plots of land to builders who would build small rows of houses. The posher areas might ape the Grand Estates of the West End and have a strict design code, so unifying the look of a street, but they were just lots spec built houses sold by lots of different builders. In many Victorian streets you can spot subtle changes in design as you move along the street. Each new design represents a different builder.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 4:40 PM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 17,335
^ I am talking about the larger estates in Kensington and Chelsea, and yes whole neighborhoods were planned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
The problem with bulldozing entire neighborhoods is that they are already owned and lived in by hundreds or thousands of existing inhabitants, and those people are going to be very resistant to the idea of having their homes demolished. Everybody has a price of course and it's probably possible to buy them all out by offering above market value for those properties but then the new project is already saddled with massive costs even before demolition has started.
Yes, that is the problem and yes it would be costly.

But if that’s not even considered as an option, then the battle is lost before it’s begun. These postwar neighborhoods are just terrible urban environments. There is a period of several decades of development that just needs to be erased and those pockets of London (or elsewhere) need to start over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
I wonder what those 12 rules they would break are? Fire regs? Disability access? You get new developments of terraced housing/apartments in vaguely Georgian/Victorian style (or at least with a nod towards that kind of architecture here in my town sometimes so it is possible I think. Those are usually infill though rather than entire masterplanned neighborhoods.
Surely those among others.

Even those that attempt to ape that sort of architecture don’t get the details right. And they ruin the street interface with things like service entrances, curb cuts, disabled ramps, etc.

This street for example breaks several rules of good urban design and really couldn’t be improved without demolishing and rebuilding everything: https://goo.gl/maps/QuFXBE6QkpN2

It’s not the architecture that we need to return to, but the urban form. Consistent street walls, building right up to the property line, narrow street frontages (or at least the appearance thereof) rather than long continuous featureless walls. Ground floors should be residential or office if they’re not retail, certainly not parking (screw off-street parking), and there should be no loading bays and curb cuts on the primary frontage. Cul-de-sacs are a last resort when geography or infrastructure (like a rail line) leaves no option for for a street to be a dead end for vehicular traffic, not designed arbitrarily and added on purpose. Even then there should be a pedestrian footpath that crosses whatever obstacle.

The absolute worst is any house that has a garage for a front door.

I give you the most poorly designed suburban house in history:



For the love of god, tear it down. That’s of course an American example, but British garden suburbs from the 1960s-80s have examples just as bad.
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov

Last edited by 10023; Oct 14, 2018 at 4:59 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 6:48 PM
Rational Plan3 Rational Plan3 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Richmond used to be a riverside retreat for Elizabethan nobility. It is stuffed full of old streets of grand terraces and larger villas. It is an extremely wealthy place. It's low density is due to all the parks it has.

There is very little development from post 1939. It's full of wealthy well educated and well connected people who are used to getting there way. Hence very little gets past the planning committee.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 7:14 PM
HowardL's Avatar
HowardL HowardL is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: East Lakeview, Chicago
Posts: 1,158
Fairly certain that Richmond only exists for pints at The White Cross before high tide and shirtless rugby players over by the bridge.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2018, 9:43 AM
Encolpius Encolpius is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: London
Posts: 495
A couple points...

First, as Rational Plan says, those streets of nineteenth-c terrace houses were put up by many different builders over long periods of years or decades -- every estate had multiple developers, and each developer subdivided and sublet to different builders. In many cases, the developer responsible for one stretch of terraces would put up only the facades and then unload the parcels one by one to be finished subsequently, often with completely different interiors between one dwelling and the next. Similar with Haussmann's Paris.

Second, the vogue for master planning in London was a historical blip that lasted during the fairly brief regency and reign of George IV. Regent Street and the terraces around Regent's Park were laid out during those years, as were the Ladbroke Estate in Kensington and Eaton Square in Belgravia. The housing market collapsed in the mid-1820s and nothing on that scale was ever replicated in the Victorian years. For the rest of London's history it was built piecemeal and in small parcels. Just as Christopher Wren's plans for a grand baroque replanning of the City of London after the Great Fire were rejected and the medieval streets and courts were left intact, attempts to plan London have almost always floundered.

Moreover, not even master-planned developments like the Ladbroke Estate were constructed uniformly as 'six-storey walls of apartments' (or six-storey rowhouses, rather). Instead, they were planned to include a mix of housing types and tenures -- the largest and grandest terraces fronting the garden squares, but also mews to house servants and streets of second- or third-rate dwellings for tradesmen and the petite bourgeoisie.

Finally, 10023, I more or less agree with you on bulldozing streets of insipid early twentieth-century semidetached houses. But your complaints about the postwar stuff are tangential to the discussion about density -- most of those estates are quite dense (in fact, the LCC put limits on their density to try to make them more humane, but those limits were often bypassed e.g. in the World's End Estate in Chelsea).

Your problem with the postwar housing seems to be mainly aesthetic. I don't entirely disagree, though much of it is also beautiful -- notably World's End, Golden Lane, the Barbican, Alexandra Road, Highgate New Town, and so on. Moreover, cities are historical and the postwar housing is far too deeply engrained in what London has been and is today (dense, ugly, juxtaposed, mismatched, multicultural) to simply wish it away, magically replacing the actual city with some sort of idealized, generic, faux-historical New Urbanist homogeneity. I think I understand your wish to replace the ugly but dense and egalitarian London rebuilt heroically from the rubble of the Blitz by generations of Labour councils... but it won't happen, and I'm glad of that.

Finally, that article somewhat deceptively classes London boroughs by density of housing units rather than density of people actually living in them. By the measure of ppl/km2, my borough (Islington) is significantly denser than K&C. And Islington is certainly not composed uniformly of garden squares and six-storey terraces!
Reply With Quote
     
     
End
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:14 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.