Formerly capital of the British Empire, today London remains the capital of the Uk and one of the planet’s undoubted ‘world cities’ in commerce, culture, communications, influence and influences, and in the diversity of its inhabitants. It is the centre of Government and the economic powerhouse of the Uk. At the same time, it is home to 7.5 million people for whom it sustains their everyday lives. At times in its history, a tension between local and national needs has come to the fore, for example the debates in the 1980s over Canary Wharf and Docklands (expansion of the City of London and attractor of international investment for Uk plc, or site of reinvigorated industry and social housing for the local disadvantaged and dispossessed community?). Sometimes national need has seemed to win out, as in the Docklands. At other times, plans for nationally significant projects such as the part-pedestrianisation of Parliament Square have been sunk on the back of local opposition (see Chapter 3).