For those who feel that supersize London is already at maximum capacity, how will the capital deal with a population influx the size of Birmingham and Coventry? With the city growing so rapidly, the Mayor’s office has compiled a report analysing what London needs if it is to service and support this larger population in the next two decades..
It is predicted that by 2036, London’s population could top 10 million. That would mean having to cater for an extra 1.5 million people. That isn’t including the more transient communities within the city, like corporate travellers and those on extended stays who also need temporary housing. A larger population doesn’t simply mean more housing, it means more office space, better roads, an improved infrastructure and transport to enable the capital to run at the same level it is now.
The new report, entitled the Good Growth Agenda, suggests London will need to build the equivalent of eight new Canary Wharfs along with 50,000 new homes that will need to be built every year to house the extra people. Housebuilding has dramatically slowed in London over the past decade. With reduced subsidy London local authorities do not have the funds they need to embark on the major housebuilding programme the capital needs. The Mayor’s report says there are over 5,000 sites across the capital that would be suitable for new homes, covering around 20,000 acres.
One strategy for housing more people in London is to build upwards, says one group called Growing London. Arguing that the capital isn’t as densely populated as other major cities, they argue skyscrapers and tower blocks will enable London to support its growing population and solve its housing challenge.
Providing more property and space is also, inevitably, positive for the city’s hospitality market. The growth in the extended stay industry, covering corporate housing and serviced apartments as well as providing temporary stay accommodation for business travellers, is part and parcel of London’s role as a major city. Its vast and international corporate community attracts travellers from around the globe. They too need to be housed and they too need to be considered as a growth market.
If London is to become a mega city it will need to cater for and house every element of its expanding population. if corporate travellers are looking for extended stays for a fixed period they will need serviced apartments or other elements of corporate housing in centrally located areas that are affordable. Similarly, those business travellers relocating to London who want to try before they buy will need an extended stay accommodation that caters for their needs and those of their families. Affordable housing solutions for every tier of London’s future population will be a vital ingredient in its growth.
London’s skyline will inevitably change as the city grows to house this extra influx to its population. The next twenty years of development in the capital will be to accommodate these extra millions, from ensuring they can travel, have places to eat as well as be housed. All can help London become a super city of the future.