Walkable London is a research initiative and exhibition proposing a full-scale network of pedestrian routes across the capital. Pedestrianising just a few streets has a limited impact on improving traffic congestion, pollution, safety and public health. To make walking part of our daily routine, London needs an integrated pedestrian network as part of the city’s transport infrastructure.
The UK capital has some great examples of pedestrianisation revitalising individual districts. Walkable London presents tangible strategies to connect these disparate pedestrianised zones. London’s Trafalgar Square experienced a 300% increase in visitors after the pedestrianisation of its North Terrace. Temporary Sunday closures to traffic on Regent Street results in a 57% increase in footfall. Globally, commercial activity increases by an average of 30% following the pedestrianisation of a street or district.
On average, Londoners spent more than 100 hours per year stuck in traffic, costing the city’s economy £6.2bn (£1,911 per person) annually, while over 90% of air pollution in cities is caused by vehicle emissions. More than 40% of Londoners do not achieve the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week, contributing to the costs of illnesses derived from physical inactivity estimated at £12.6 per annum (8.3% of the UK’s national health spending).
Increasing the density of the city’s residential neighbourhoods, through adaptive reuse and retrofit as well as the infill of disused lots, may not appear to be part of the city’s transport strategy, yet it addresses key issues of housing, transportation and community development. Increasing opportunities for Londoners to live within walking distance of their work also increases their opportunities to interact with their community–an important factor of our well-being and happiness.
Developing London’s pedestrian-friendly environment will involve a wide variety of transformations—there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Careful analysis, engagement and support is required to develop the best solutions for each community. London was traditionally a walking city. Walkable London presents proposals that re-introduce walking as an integral part of the city’s transport network. Source by Zaha Hadid Architects.
- Location: New London Architecture Galleries at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, UK
- Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
- Concept: Patrik Schumacher, ZHA Principal
- ZHA Exhibition Team: Silviya Barzakova, Shajay Bhooshan, Vishu Bhooshan, Federico Borello, Tommaso Casucci, Nils Fischer, Mathias Fuchs, Vera Kichanova, Melodie Leung, Henry Louth, Filippo Nassetti, David Reeves, Bidisha Sinha, Armando Solano, Henry Virgin, Woody Yao, Lei Zheng, Daria Zolotareva
- Date: until Monday 26 February 2018
- Schedule: Monday to Friday: 9.30 am – 6.00 pm, Saturday: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
- Video and Images: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Article by Marco Rinaldi