In July this year, London Mayor Sadiq Khan enlisted the renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye, and designer, Wayne Hemingway, for a new project looking to create more affordable homes across the capital.

At an event at the London School of Economics, Mr. Khan announced the Good Growth By Design initiative. He has put together a team of fifty architects, designers, and experts on the built environment for his mission to create environmentally sustainable, inclusive architecture in the city.

Along with these factors, the idea of the Good Growth By Design initiative is to tackle the issue of underrepresentation in the architecture, design, and built environment industries and to promote diversity. This idea is linked to an associated initiative, Public Practice, bringing 25% black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups and 50% women into the team. The Public Practice initiative is also designed to plug the skills gap in London, by placing designers and building planners in local authorities across the city’s boroughs.

Fifty design advocates will work with the Good Growth By Design initiative with local councils and City Hall, seeking to set new design standards for buildings and to undertake in-depth reviews of the design of existing London buildings. Along with this, there’ll be open design competitions with the aim of achieving high standards for public design projects.

You can find a full list of the fifty design advocates on the project in this fully explanatory whitepaper from the Mayor’s office here.

The realisation of the need to improve the standards of architecture comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which 80 people lost their lives as a result of the recent renovation. This renovation added cladding and insulation to the building that had insufficient fire safety. This initiative is a strong move towards addressing this issue and preventing more unnecessary deaths.

There’s also the matter of unprecedented population growth in London. The Mayor of London Office estimates that there will be an annual need for 46,000 jobs and 50,000 new homes before long. In the Mayor’s own words:

“We must embrace London’s rapid growth with both hands and take this chance to use good architecture and planning to make a real difference to the lives of Londoners. This is a chance to learn from past mistakes, some of which are still dotted across our city, and blight the lives of the communities that live in them.

Good growth can lead to a host of other benefits such as better social integration among different communities, and new transport links transforming areas and local economies. This program will make the most of London’s growth so that every community is able to share in the fruits of development.”

With these issues at the forefront of public consciousness, it’s clear that changes need to be made as a matter of urgency. London is notorious for its extortionate property prices, which block all but the most wealthy from attaining a home in the city. These unsustainable circumstances are a serious matter, and thankfully one that Sadiq Khan takes extremely seriously.

A better infrastructure for London is needed now more than ever, and enlisting the right talent by closing gaps in representation is inarguably the best way to do this. If the Good Growth By Design project is a success, and we sincerely hope it will be, a vast number of people stand to gain, whilst the city can expect a boost to the economy and a boon to the working population.

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