Lewis Silkin is a proud sponsor of Future of London, an organisation which helps to build a better London by sharing knowledge and ideas across multiple professions in the private and public sector and supporting future leaders through its Future London Leaders and Leaders Plus Courses. 

This year's conference, Building Recovery: Closing the Gap, brought the network together to share practical approaches to delivering recovery through housing, public space, green skills, culture and transport. The agenda...in a post-pandemic world, how should London respond to its existing diversity and sustainability challenges? 

Attendees heard from a mix of experts throughout the day, including the founder of innovative think tank Common Vision,  the current Mayor of Newham and representatives from Transport for London and leading London housing developers.

One of the highlights of the day included a panel discussion on how London's public open space could be transformed to be safe and inclusive for all. Lewis Silkin's Head of Planning, Sara Hanrahan, joined a panel with three rising Future London Leaders who presented their solutions for making London a better place. A brief summary of the brilliant ideas:

  • Ayanda Collins (Interim Head of Transport Projects & People Friendly Streets, LB Islington) considered how London could reclaim its streets by transforming unused car park spaces into bookable social or retail spaces. 
  • Lizzie Bird (Deputy Manager – Strategic Planning, LB Hackney) tackled the issue of how we can ensure that public space is adapted to properly meet the needs of children and young people. Lizzie's highlighted the need to have young people involved up front in the design and planning stages. In essence, local authorities, designers and developers can only work towards solutions that meet community needs if they know what those needs are in the first place.
  • Stefanos Koryzis, (Research Manager, London Communications Agency) proposed a bold idea for the re-management of London's parks. It is unarguable that the recent pandemic highlighted how important outdoor spaces are to every London community. Stefanos' promotion of a Park Trust model would place park management and maintenance back on the city's agenda.

What can we take away from the 2021 conference and the Future Leaders' presentations?

The Government’s long awaited planning reforms have been overtaken by the new concept of “levelling up”. What the government means by "levelling up" is not entirely clear. However, we hope that it is not simply about tackling inequalities within the regions but also inequalities within our cities. It is essential that Central Government collaborates with local authorities in providing resources and funding to assist with bringing forward the types of solutions outlined at this event by all those who attended. 

For more information and for a copy of Future of London's Insight Report visit Building Recovery: Closing the gap: Closing the gap - Future of London