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Tall building policy making and implementation in central London: visual impacts on regionally protected views from 2000 to 2008

Kufner, Juergen (2011) Tall building policy making and implementation in central London: visual impacts on regionally protected views from 2000 to 2008. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis considers the processes of policy making and implementation of tall building development, as well as the management of visual impacts on regionally protected views in particular, in central London between 2000 and 2008, from the initiation of the Greater London Authority to the end of Ken Livingstone's era as Mayor of London. During this eight year period, more than forty tall building projects were processed through the planning system. Regional and local planning authorities, private developers and heritage groups have diverse interests in tall building planning and hence conflicts result regarding policy and implementation processes. The case study of No.1 Blackfriars Road—part of an emerging cluster of tall buildings at Blackfriars Bridge, Southwark—provides a useful exemplar. It is not located in an area that was designated as appropriate for tall buildings and is situated close to central London's historic monuments and conservation areas. I will argue that while a high degree of design quality in tall buildings has been achieved, a severe lack of conflict resolution has led to an upward spiralling of antagonistic interactions, uncertainty and the prolongation of the planning process. Moreover, emerging regional and local policy has strengthened the position of tall building supporters while gradually marginalising opposing heritage groups. Nor has planning policy and assessment methods provided a clear enough basis for decision making. The resulting ambiguity has been exploited by opposing camps which arrive at divergent conclusions regarding tall building projects. Furthermore, the involvement of private sector experts in governmental processes has led to perceptions by heritage groups of conflicts of interest. The thesis concludes by summarising the key aspects identified with regard to the translation of the urban renaissance agenda into tall building policies, the effectiveness of implementing these policies, and the impacts of planning processes on visual impact assessments.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Juergen Kufner
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Tavernor, Robert

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