London

Supermodels and politicians…

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Politicians have a catalogue of excuses the way supermodels have a catalogue of poses.

 

Do all bad memories eventually become good actions?

 

You know you’re in London when…

every minute, you hear a plane coming in to land,

every 2 minutes, you hear a police siren in the distance,

every 30 minutes, you overhear two people arguing,

and only every 120 minutes, do you hear the sound of laughter.

Thinking rich and talking cheap

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If we could turn all the words written about London’s housing crisis into bricks, the crisis would have been solved decades ago.

The richest in society can carelessly mislay a few zeros off their net personal wealth and still not break a sweat.

London Life

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A man who is tired of London’s rush hour, is tired of life.

Friends, Londoners, countrymen. Sadly, three separate categories…

London Underground; mind the gap getting off. Mind the mosh pit when you get on.

Inner London inline skating; glide the Hyde, slalom the Serpentine.

London’s Square Mile; history equally balanced between length and breadth.

London transport – we carry designer hopefuls & designer locals, West End dancers & street dancers, Estate agents and secret agents, barristers & baristas.

London housing – more buying, filling, mending and watching the gap than minding the gap.

The rest of Britain might be heartland, but London’s a state of mind.

Sound of the times – i-tuning out the London buskers.

The tourists might come to London, but its mansions and tax breaks go to offshore tycoons.

Mass cycling and secure cycling lock-ups in London. There is nothing so powerful as two ideas whose time has come.

London cyclists entering the intersection early and motorists leaving the intersection late –  a tragic collision of ambition, stupidity and selfishness.

London cycling; ride the Hyde.  Toe-clip the toe path. Do a pm run on your Boris bike.

London cycling; less speedy dies. More beady eyes.

A marriage made in heaven needs two angels. A marriage made in London needs two human beings.

Tate Britain/Tate Modern – culture in stereo. Art works to power stations.

London talent without effort and courage – just a sports car in the showroom.

London rappers talk about it with style. London university students do it with substance.

London charity planning; a walk in the woulds. Helping the great unwatched.

London quality is about substance. London design is about style supporting substance. Welcome to Quality Design HQ.

London fashion, the magical stitching binding values with expression.

People come to our London store on a fashion quest. And leave on a style mission.

If we spend all our time bashing London wealth creators, instead of up-skilling, we’ll get the economic wasteland we deserve.

Westminster politicians are in a hurry to tax everything except themselves.

London numbers are like diamonds – their substance can generally be verified .However, as for diamonds, if you want a true reflection, look at their substance from all angles.

A tale of two cities

Less than an hour’s plane ride separates Amsterdam and London. What can they learn from each other, to be even greater cities of the World?

Five things Amsterdam could learn from London (in no particular order):

To build more inner city parks (and areas for children to play outside). If Amsterdam’s canals and cycle lanes are its arteries, such green squares would be its lungs. London’s got Hyde, St James’s & Green within walking distance of Piccadilly Circus & Victoria Station. Then there’s Regents, Holland Park, Victoria, Primrose Hill, Richmond & Hampstead Heath a bit further out. Where, apart from the Dutch countryside, do Amsterdamers go to get away from the crowds?

To encourage more street entertainers & buskers. Street music, jugglers, magic acts, acrobats, illusionists & human statues all bring culture to the café crowds, whether tourists or locals. How about buskers in canal boats, tempting you to throw coins into their boats, as they slide past?

Restaurant diversity. Amsterdam’s restraint in allowing food chains to dominate its city is admirable. However, what seems to be missing in the inner city are more than occasional Far Eastern, Caribbean, Africa and Middle Eastern restaurants.

Create a Tech Canal City. Away from the computer company & telco buildings further out, where’s the critical mass of inner city design, games and SME software houses to support next generation, highly skilled ICT developers?

Encourage more Metro marts – the Amsterdam equivalents of Tesco and Sainsburys Metros wouldn’t have to be modern on the outside, or vast on the inside. In Amsterdam, Marts could still showcase the best cheeses, beers, breads, fruits etc, just showcase them together, not in multiple speciality shops or weekend market stalls.

 

Five things London could learn from Amsterdam (in no particular order):

Make greater use of the city brownfield land – the premium price of land in Amsterdam demands it be used productively. Cafes even extend into canals, land is reclaimed and 2,500 houseboats extend residential use beyond the residential suburbs. Docklands get converted into new cultural icons and café terraces sprawl outwards from the cafes themselves. What lessons can London learn regarding its planning process, planning regulations and creative use of inner city land to meet resident and employer needs? After all, its land price is soaring also.

Develop a love affair with the humble bike. Amsterdam apparently has more bikes than inhabitants of the city. Main routes tend to be segregated between pedestrian, tram, car and bike. Dutch bikes may not look futuristic, but are a great social leveller and could (by some) be termed ‘chic traditional’. A vast bike storage area guards one side of the Amsterdam central train station. Cycle lanes run all over the inner city and bicycles frame the canals and side walls of houses & shops. It didn’t start off that way, but the city forefathers didn’t block the progressive evolution of bike culture. HGV’s tend not to trouble Amsterdam cyclists, because there is little high rise construction/excavation to attract HGV’s into the areas that cyclists use.

Create clean and beggar-free streets. In Amsterdam, people either take more pride in their city by dropping less litter or Amsterdam’s street sweepers and rubbish bins are more effective in handling the rubbish that does accumulate. In contrast, some Londoners think nothing of discarding chicken takeaway food scraps and cigarette butts on the ground, or leaving beer cans and empty bottles on any available flat surface in the street. Beggars don’t ask for money in the main streets either, yet the average Amsterdamer is probably as wealthy as the average Londoner, in their disposable income.

Improve the ratio of people to floorspace. Even in relatively busy centres like the Amsterdam central train station, airport or shopping arcades, somehow the building planners have designed the spaces to cope. In contrast, London’s busiest hubs still suffer perpetual congestion and simply need to be spread out over a larger (underground) footprint.

London to develop its own flag – Amsterdam has the flag of three crosses. Could London have a design competition and trademark register is own flag too? Having a flag logo would provide ongoing tourism and merchandising opportunities, just as the London 2012 Olympic logo generated income for the city (for a brief period). Having its own flag might encourage the inhabitants to harmonise. At various street parades, the London Marathon, London-Brighton ride, Notting Hill Carnival, music in the parks etc, some people may favour waving the London flag over the Union flag, or the national flag of their parent’s generation.

Finally, if both cities do have something to learn from each other, should they become twin cities with regular exchanges of city planners, architects, urban designers and design students?

London Cycling again…

Cyclists entering the intersection early and motorists entering the intersection late – a collision of ambition, stupidity and selfishness.

Cyclists – running a red light might be the last race you ever run.

Road rage – when people hop into a metal box and morph into jerk-in-a-box, jack-in-a-box.

If fists were the best tool to set road rules, then long ago we’d have made Parliaments and Courthouses into boxing rings. Civilisation also wouldn’t have got as far as inventing roads, let alone cities.

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Social Comment – London 2

Modern day London – a city under raps and a city under wraps.

Good London design is good policy. Good London policy is good design.

If British culture is an iPod, London’s the earphones.

London overcrowding is a Council policy & enforcement problem first and a supply problem second.

London overcrowding is a squat environment pretending to be a rental flat.

London’s housing problem quickly becomes the overground train companies’ overcrowding problem.

The Tube; mind the gap getting off. Mind the mosh pit when you get on…

London cyclists and vehicles…

Let’s not make the road ahead a pitched battle between road users…

Motorists, the cyclist you hit today may have been your customer, supplier, son or daughter tomorrow.

Cyclists versus motorists? No. Poor judgement & road rage versus sanity & street awareness.

HGV; having greater visibility. Human growth values.

Think country lane not Olympic lane.

Trendy lefties meet cycling start ups, head on…

Less speedy dies. More beady eyes

The challenge for traffic planners; more chess-piece playing so less chest-piece paying.

Motorists; killing cyclists or pedestrians kills your employer’s business.

Impatience today. Patients tomorrow.

Where we have to share the road, let’s not share the travelling time.

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