London, Westville, Croydon discussed on Monocle 24: The Globalist


You were the globalist. Finally, let's squeeze in a little bit of urbanism, news, cat Hannah. Good morning, urban affairs commentator. How are you this morning? I'm not too bad. A bit of a bit of a rush, but got here in one piece. Like all good urbanists, you have the neatest notebook full of scribbles that I have ever seen. Those scribbles tell us what's on your paper. So a few things, and I'm sure people have seen it's been doing the round certainly on Twitter, a very good FTP on shopping centers. Again, looking at what do we do with them? How they've been hit, obviously, particularly by COVID, but also for a long time. We've had that shift towards buying things online. So again, what do you do with these assets and the piece starts by looking at croydon, where you've almost got these different generations of shopping centers that have been lost and saying, actually, location wise, they're great. So do we just need to rethink about what they're used for that isn't just about shops. The accordance is a very good example of a place that overreached itself, isn't it? It's one of those places just outside the center of London, where they have built and built and built and built lots and lots of apartments in the hope that I think it was westfield was going to come along. Westville said no, ultimately pulled out, and it left the high street and the area in a state of freefall. And the thing that marked it out as being such a desperately sad place to go to was all these half empty shopping malls. What is it that's bringing things back to life? So what the article does is it actually looks at a few developers who are still saying, do you know what? We still have faith, particularly in the location, even if it's not in shopping centers as they used to be. So it's about thinking this is actually prime real estate. You know, I think the figure, you know, it's you've got if you think on the high street in, you know, you've got long frontage, you've got a lot you could do. Is it about well-being is about gyms, culture, sports, actually bringing in some housing as well, so you think how do we go back to creating something that feels like a piece of city because what we do know is that massive amount of retail, particularly when a lot of those anchor tenants who think about debenhams, you think about topshop, you know, they've all gone down. You're not going to be able to get a big retailer in, let the rents come in and just let that go. It's not the same anymore. So you've got to be a bit more imaginative when it comes to those uses. Let's stick in London because of the opening of the Elizabeth line, otherwise known as crossrail, anybody who's ever heard of it will just associate delay and expense. And it's going to happen. Is it this weekend it opens? It is this weekend. Are you going? Do you know what? I really want to go. I really want to go. So if we do it right, let's have a date. Let's go to reading on Sunday. Excellent. I can't think of that a weekend plan. No, I genuinely do really want to go more, I think both to experience the trains of which quite a lot has been written in terms of their size, they're much bigger actually than tube trains that we're used to, but actually the stations themselves and the station architecture. The interesting thing about this is it's not just because it's interesting. If you like going on trains, it clearly do. But the scale of this thing has been enormous. I mean, if you look at the stations, they are twice the length of the average underground metro station. The tunnels are twice the width. They are huge. It was, wasn't it? It has been the biggest infrastructure project in Europe for a very long time. It has, and it's been the kind of biggest extension of the tube, you know, in London's real network overall, in a long, long time as well. And again, it's really about, I think there's this tension now about does this do we still need all this? And I think what everyone who's been involved in it says, just get on it, just go and you will see that yes, there may have been delays, yes, there may have been overruns, but you know what? This is a world class transport system. And it's worth it. And if you're not unable to join cats and myself for a trip on this weekend and actually there's a rather lovely article written about it in Monaco magazine. Finally, very, very quickly. Composting is something that you would not naturally associate with an urban life. This is just changing in New York City. This is quite niche cat. It is quite niche, but you know what? I genuinely, I will share the link to this article because it was just a really wonderful article. About a young man from New York from The Bronx who was kind of struggling in terms of unemployment, poorly paid jobs, saw, it was a nonprofit advertising about training young people in green jobs. And one of those happened to be composting and this young man is now we've probably not quite so young anymore. It's basically the kind of the poster boy for community composting and for helping people realize you can save money. You can do your bit for saving the planet and make the most of unused spaces and it's just a really to me a really great example of making the most of some of those opportunities and cities. Cat Hannah, thank you so much and I shall see you on the Elizabeth line next week. In the meantime, that's all we have time for today. Many thanks to my guests and to the producers color rebella Charlie filmer court and Sophie monahan coombs are such a Lillian fawcett and our studio melodic Callum McLean. After the headlines more music on the way, the briefings live at midday here in London and the global list is back at the same time tomorrow. But for now, from me Eminem goodbye, thank you very much for listening..

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