Green Sky Thinking Week highlights London’s development challenge

Ed Lister Green Sky Thinking Week

London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning, Sir Edward Lister, launches week of sustainable activity with infrastructure front and centre.

New integrated approaches to funding, planning and delivering infrastructure are vital if London is to meets the demands of increasing population and underpin UK economic growth, according to London deputy mayor Sir Edward Lister.

Launching Green Sky Thinking Week, week of sustainable activity across the Capital’s built environment, Lister told the audience of industry leaders that  ‘the agenda for improving green infrastructure in London is not just about greening itself but also using it to solve London's hard economic challenges.’ 

“We have enough land, we just need to use it better.” Sir Edward Lister

Delivery of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050, published last month by the Greater London Authority, was, he said, central to creating the sustainable environment needed to drive the capital forward towards an expected 11M inhabitants by 2050.

His stress on the need for a new economic approach was supported by the following panel discussion with Jo Negrini of LB Croydon arguing that we simply cannot afford to continue the ‘business as usual’ funding mechanisms if we are to make the strident changes required to upgrade London’s ‘creeking’ infrastructure.

With the Croydon receiving funding of £7M from government, having identified the need for £800M investment, Negrini discussed the possibility of directly developing infrastructure to save on developer costs and achieve truly ‘affordable’ housing for the borough ‘inhouse’.

Picking up on the critical housing issue facing the capital and its role in the infrastructure plan, Lister stated that the GLA had identified brownfield sites which could accommodate 450,000 new homes without encroaching on the green belt. 

"Joined up thinking and integration - as well as funding - as the key to bringing forward change to make London a more resilient city" Mark Reynolds, Mace

Quite simply, he argued, “we have enough land, we just need to use it better.” 

This was true of the Green Infrastructure of the city. London is the ‘greenest’ city in the world per ‘green space’, he said. To ensure we keep it that way we need to protect and optimize these spaces, he added

The panel session was chaired by Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds who summed up the session by advocating ‘joined up thinking and integration - as well as funding - as the key to bringing forward change to make London a more resilient city’. 

Green Sky Thinking Week is organised by the Open-City and builds on this thinking and, through a week of events from next Monday 22 April, champions cross-sector partnership.

Some 45 site-specific events will be hoste by infrastructure businesses across the city - from the construction sites of Crossrail to completed projects of British Land, Crown Estates and Quintain. 

The events are a chance to see specific on-site examples, talk face-to-face with top experts and strengthen cross-sector collaborations. 

With a simple ‘seeing is believing’ format, the purpose is to bring together industry silos and reduce the knowledge gap by providing a platform for discussion and exchange, exposing successful schemes for us all to learn.

Events include the ‘Can Construction Really be Sustainable?’ discussion on Thursday 23 April which enlists the expertise of speakers from Crossrail, Farrells, Cemfree, BREEAM to discuss the role of codes and standards and how to embed sustainability throughout projects. 

On Monday 20 April Skanska and UKGBC will challenge the ‘nice to have’ attitude of green commercial buildings with  presentation and discussion and BuroHappold Engineering challenge the norm of ‘intelligent design’ using onsite proto-types for audience members to ‘test-drive’ city-wide infrastructure theories.

Onsite visits include trip to the ‘Pond’ of King Cross, the tunnels of Crossrail Farringdon, the largest living wall at 20 Fenchurch Street are presented by leading industry figures including Argent, Biotecture, Mace, Quintain, and Arup.  

To attend the free events sign up today for last chance places. Click here for details