INTBAU World Congress
in association with TAG

Local Solutions to Global Challenges
London, 18-19 February 2015

World Congress





Prof. Mark Brearley (Cass Cities at London Metropolitan University) outlined some of his and his affiliates’ work to promote the importance of London’s high streets, which are so often the backbone of their local communities, and which are too often ignored in current planning.

Professor Mark Brearley is a London based architect, who also has extensive experience as a teacher; he is the Head of Cass Cities, the creation of which he led, and an Associate Professor. He established his office at the Cass in 2013, and has recently commenced a collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum to assemble an archive of contemporary urban design in London.
He worked for the Mayor of London for. 12 years up to 2013; firstly with Richard Rogers and the Architecture and Urbanism Unit, and from 2006 with Design for London. Between 2008 and 2013 he was the Head of Design for London, and served for several years on the Mayor's Design Advisory Panel. In his role for the Mayor of London, Mark Brearley has defined and pushed forward major city-wide initiatives including the London Green Grid, the Mayor's Great Spaces and the Outer London Fund.


Summary Notes

  • The finance came from the Mayor of London and The Outer London Fund
  • One of the Mayor of London’s high street initiatives
  • High street focus of study, but the high street in London absent from planning
  • If you don’t see all ages in a high street something must be wrong
  • High streets are essential to civic, social and economic life
  • They are familiar but remarkable complex places
  • There are 600 high streets in London. Lucky London!
  • London is structured around high streets – which is what you would want
  • Half of London businesses are in high streets
  • 1.45 million people work in these high streets
  • We still have the idea that industry is “over there”
  • Gorton, Manchester, is a good example for it shows its economy on the street where footfalls and people flow
  • 500 km of high streets in London
  • This is where our city is most vibrant
  • The economy is all of us expressed in the high street.
  • 3 years ago the high street idea began to initialise. The neighbourhood unit concept of Chigago in the 1920s (of one Mr Perry) segregated the city into free floating units. A city without high streets. This idea refuses to go away.
  • The consensus that cars are the solution to everything is crumbling and this is in the interest of the living community
  • Now is the time to shout out the message, with Jane Jacobs, that the potential is already there
  • The high street should get longer, not shorter and deeper
  • We should say good bye to garden cities, to Abercrombie, and the Athens Charter of CIAM and the modernists
  • The high street is the lynchpin of the city
  • The big urban idea of our time. The ‘city of high streets’