chapter  7
26 Pages

MANAGING THE METROPOLIS: ECONOMIC CHANGE, INSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND SPATIAL PLANNING IN LONDON

ByNICK BAILEY

The introduction of the United Kingdom’s first spatial development strategy in London coincided with a unique set of circumstances in the last three years of the 1990s and the first three of the new millennium. Having languished for fourteen years without any form of metropolitan government, London emerged from a long period of political decline with the first elected mayor in Britain, a new and significantly different form of administration from previous approaches and a remit for spatial planning, in line with the emergent European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) published in 1999, which promoted the adoption of regional spatial development strategies (Hall 2006: 167). The 1990s were also the start of London’s economic and demographic resurgence, confirming it as one of only three undisputed world cities (Newman and Thornley 2005; Hall and Pain 2006). Moreover, these reforms were introduced relatively early in the period of office of the New Labour government first elected in 1997, and represented just one part of a broader approach to ‘modernising’ local government and the emergence of ‘a new territorial governance’ (Roberts 2000; Tewdwr-Jones and Allmendinger 2006) throughout the United Kingdom. Few could have predicted that London’s fortunes could have changed so quickly and that by 2000 it would be piloting a new form of city government with a novel, and as then untried, system of spatial planning.