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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello SSC London, I am currently doing research for school on how different cities around the world approaches their urban density growth, problems and issues.

One of the cities I am doing is London. If anyone can spare me information about:
1. How the housing market works
2. Current population density problems with the city
3. Current solutions the city is implementing to deal with these problems
4. Your own opinion on the city's approach, as well as your own.

I would appreciate any response you give me. A short response helps, a longer response helps even more.

Thank you

9,172 Posts
the city was very dense before the war and has been de-densifying until the 1980s. In the 1990s its densifying again, the 00's saw this go up an octave as New Labour promoted building on 'brownfield sites' rather than the Green Belt or the suburbs. The city population is roaring again after decades of suburbanisation (went from 9.2 million to 6.7 million after the war, then up in the 1980s onwards to 8.2 million today and growing at 85,000 a year). 2008? I think marked a watershed as more new builds now were for apartments, not houses.
-Watch this space though as the Green Belt is now facing legislation to open up its land from population pressure, and the fact the law has created a monster - rather than curbing city growth it's resulted in leapfrogging suburbanisation and a vast semi-rural/urban fabric that has overtaken much of the country, rather than just letting the cities grow naturally in their peripheral areas and keeping the rest of the countryside intact.

There is also a rapidly increasing public transport ridership, in part thanks to the congestion zone and the fact owning a car in the city is very expensive, with few parking spaces. This has caused problems as its the oldest underground system in the world and the carriages can't get much bigger, or the platforms longer, nor have space for air conditioning units on the roof without rebuilding every tunnel. Instead they've opted for more frequent services every 2 minutes at peak flow (still not a light on Moscow's system, the busiest in the world with trains every 90 seconds across the board), which has called for a rebuilding of all the tracks so they can handle more frequent trains. This in turn has cost the city billions as unscrupulous firms overcharge and delay the work, making billions in profit (past shareholders include public-spirited corporations such as EDF Energie De France, and Thames Water, both of whom also happened to be responsible for the 30,000 unnecessary roadworks across the capital a year, increasing congestion by a third). What was meant to have improved services on all lines within 2 years to 2009, has been dragged out literally to the very week before the Olympics this 2012, and only on 2 lines.

Densifying the city (building up) was a solution former mayor Ken Livingstone was keen on, to ease the pressure on the network - a denser city, with more people living in the centre means less journeys into it, less long journeys overall and a stopper on suburban commuters who number in their millions. The current mayor Boris Johnson, with much support from the suburban heartlands, has had a mixed response to densification policies. While decreasing the size of the congestion charge and scrapping the polluting vehicles charge, he's managed to wheel in a city wide, almost free bike network.
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