We asked ten architects – each of whom joined Make in a different year since 2004 – to write about how they see architecture and the built environment changing over the next ten years. Here is the second instalment.
Make Partner since 2005
By 2024 the population of London will have increased to an unprecedented level. While this is representative of London’s success globally, it also places significant pressure on the city’s already overstrained infrastructure – in particular our streets, which have lost their sense of purpose. Over the next ten years we will need to fundamentally rethink how our streets are used.
London is world-famous for its green parks and squares, which make a significant contribution to the unique qualities of the urban environment. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the city’s streets. Clogged with traffic, they are hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. This has not always been the case; in the recent past our streets had a real sense of purpose – they were destinations in themselves, places to go to rather than go through. They were elaborately balanced in order to meet a variety of different needs. Today they have lost that sense of purpose – the balance is firmly in favour of the car, above all else. Our streets provide a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life of the people who use them; they should be an integral part of our built environment rather than a separate entity.
We urgently need to rediscover our streets’ sense of purpose, in order for them to become destinations rather than routes to other destinations. I see our role as architects becoming more significant in creating streets which address this. If we are to successfully meet the needs of our increasing population, this transformation will become critical over the next decade.