London Is Undergoing An Unstoppable Face-Lift

A building under construction near Centre Point


Centre Point in Oxford street

Anyone living in London or visiting will notice the road works and the new generation of buildings springing up in many parts. I can vaguely remember what the capital’s skyline looked like 10 years back. But one thing I do know is that there were probably only a handful of skyscrapers around, may be 3 to 4 namely the NatWest tower in the city of London, the BT tower near Warren street and Centre point building in New Oxford street. The skyline is looking more like NYC and Dubai lately. London is undergoing a face-lift and no one can stop this from going ahead.

London was once much cozier 

A construction site

It has transformed rapidly and it seems to have lost some of its sense of community. I’m actually wondering what thoughts lie behind the plan for redeveloping London in the first place? Who captured the ideas behind these high-rise buildings/sky scrappers? Apparently there is a degree of foreign investment involved.

In the past, towers were confined to mainly the city but this is not the case today.

A building under construction in Vauxhall

What used to make London cozier was the village style community, which seems to be gradually disappearing. The skyline has been altered leaving less day light on some streets, for example, Victoria street. These buildings have changed the face of London. I won’t dismiss the fact that lans like Nine Elms Lane in Vauxhall needed a face-lift but not almost everywhere. Take a look at the south bank of the Thames – there is hardly any land untouched, leaving the embankment crowded.


Plaza shopping centre in Oxford street

Who is likely to pay the price?

London, inevitably requires growth to survive but these buildings are not the solution to the city’s high demand for properties. Over time it is likely that the capital will be too expensive to live in. Families with young children and women are more likely to be affected by the redevelopment scheme because the cost of living is extortionate.

Affordable housing is what Londoners need right now and especially the young generation and not high-rise buildings. The problem of homelessness can be addressed if only more action is taken.

Do you have any interest in these development schemes and is it a good idea to change the city’s skyline and pay less attention to the current housing crisis? As always feel free to leave a comment.

London: A City For Everyone

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16 Responses to “London Is Undergoing An Unstoppable Face-Lift”

  1. Doreen Pendgracs June 1, 2017 at 1:53 am #

    Thank you for this update on London, Bola. It has been 6 years since my last visit.

    It looks like London is undergoing the same pace of growth that we have in Toronto, Canada. Every time I visit that city it has changed.

    • Bola Akande June 2, 2017 at 10:04 am #

      Could this be a worldwide development? I guess nothing stays quite the same. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Cathy Sweeney June 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    I’m kind of sad to hear about these changes. Of course, I don’t have any financial or livability issues or knowledge about the development going on, so can’t weigh in on the merits. But as one who has loved visiting London over the years, I hate to see the city lose its character and ambiance. I haven’t been since 2010, so I’m sure I’d see a big difference.

    • Bola Akande June 2, 2017 at 10:07 am #

      There has been a huge difference since 2010 and London appears to have lost some of its character. There isn’t much of a community here.

  3. William Rusho June 2, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    Great post.
    I have been reading about this before. Where people are not able to see the river, because of the buildings, and are not even that far away from it.
    Cities expand, and often a decision has to be made. Should it grow high, or grow outward. Not sure what the answer is, but, I do hate skylines of a city.

    • Bola Akande June 2, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

      Thanks. Cities like London can only grow high due to restricted land, on the other hand, cities like Oklahoma in the US could grow outwards as there is more land. It’s such a shame that we have a limited view of the Thames.

  4. Phoenicia June 2, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    Great post Bola!

    I lived in South London for the first 30 years of my life. I cannot quite get my head around the changes. As you have stated, overpriced “luxury” apartments are popping up everywhere. London is losing its “sky” by the second. I drove through South East London recently and felt slightly claustrophobic. Where there once was green open space, there are now flats. People are being crammed into small spaces. Not for me at all.

    • Bola Akande June 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

      It’s quite suffocating and even walking through the streets feels claustrophobic. People get in each others way due to the lack of space.

  5. RoseMary Griffith June 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

    London was overwhelming when we were there last year–already having the feel of NYC or Madrid or Milan to it. Sounds like it is getting even more so. Pittsburgh’s downtown area is restricted by the natural boundaries of the three rivers. However, that doesn’t stop the tearing down and building up from occurring. Like your comment on the housing, it seems here every renovation or new highrise is intended as “luxury” apartments. With them being out of our price range, as middle class folks, leaves us wondering who can afford them?
    I hope London manages to retain the small town areas. I hope all our cities do.

    • Bola Akande June 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

      So true! Each time I walk past one, I cannot help but question who could afford these prices.

  6. Andy June 3, 2017 at 4:07 am #

    Gentrification afflicts a lot of places, and it comes as no surprise that London, an expensive city to begin with, is one of them – it certainly afflicts West Philadelphia, in which I went to uni once upon a time. Developers snap up property with well-to-do clients in mind; rents zoom up in a major way; ordinary people and ‘mom and pop’ businesses are priced out of the area; community falls by the wayside, as you point out. Stomach-churning, isn’t it? I, too, wish I had the resources to do something about the situation…

    • Bola Akande June 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

      It’s such a shame that’s the situation is out of our hands.

  7. Rachel Heller June 4, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    I guess I feel more optimistic than you do. Look at NYC: very dense development with skyscrapers everywhere, yet there are still distinct neighborhoods with distinct characters. I can’t imagine London ever being anything but a vibrant, diverse, exciting city, with a fascinating historical base. There really should, though, be some sort of guidelines in terms of affordability. When a developer builds something, a certain percentage of the housing should be designated and priced for low, middle and high income, so the area stays mixed, and affordable at all salary levels.

    • Bola Akande June 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

      Quite right. There isn’t much consideration for low or middle earners.

  8. Demi June 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    Unfortunately do to the nature of the commerce free market society we live in , the regeneration of London including its urban areas has now made city dwelling an attractive location for those business elites who can afford to live in wealthier households. More and more of these households can found in central city locations not just in London but in other countries across the globe. They have created profitable redevlopment for the market and have caused uneven investment throughout society or rather gentrifiable space for the middle classes.

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