Mayor or London breaks ground on construction of new culture powerhouse
Stratford Waterfront (Copyright Allies & Morrison) showing proposed Sadler's Wells, BBC, V&A and UAL buildings
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was at the start of construction this week of the £1.1 billion East Bank project that represents the most significant single investment in London's culture since the legacy of the 1851 Great Exhibition. Sadiq was joined at the UCL East campus site by local schoolchildren as they buried a time capsule symbolising the huge impact the project will have on the capital's future generations.
Work has begun at the new UCL East and Stratford Waterfront sites at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will become the largest culture and education project for a generation. East Bank will help cement the capital's reputation as a world leader in these fields, with a new purpose-built east London hub.
There will be two new V&A sites and the museum's Deputy Director, Tim Reeve, who is leading the V&A development and who spoke at our April forum, described how important it is to include the local community in decisions around creating new cultural offers and how the role of museums in outreach to the public is improving. The V&A will create a new centre where visitors can look behind the work of museums and handle objects usually kept in storage.
One of the Mayor's cultural ambassadors, Pam Alexander, spoke at our June forum about utilising existing facilities such as libraries and public houses to create a joined-up cultural infrastructure plan for London.
Our workshops at the June event included a dedicated cultural round table where research was gathered on best practice to enable sustainable cultural infrastructure in London. Suggestions included better use of river links and transport to bring in new visitors to cultural destinations.
Workshop participants looked in particular at improving the cultural offer of the Isle of Dogs in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. They posed the question of whether there is potential to connect the Design District in Greenwich Peninsula to the Isle of Dogs? This would also attract visitors from the O2 Arena.
Using destination marketing for the Isle of Dogs and playing on the idea of a London 'island' while promoting the area as an island escape / urban island / an evening or weekend destination to escape in the city, was also discussed along with utilising the parks and making these into a 'haven' on the Isle of Dogs. Creating a public programme for the park, including festivals was also discussed as was giving bars and restaurants priority over housing on river frontages.
Find out about our research from this important event in our forthcoming report and read our blog on our September forum which extends these themes.