What’s the first thing that pops into your head when somebody mentions London? It seems that many, the world over, think of her royal majesty, the Queen; they think of Buckingham Palace, the crown jewels, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben – they’ll attempt a hideous rendition of Cockney rhyming slang. More often than not, the average person won’t think to mention London’s skyscrapers or lack thereof.
The reasoning for this, you might wonder, is that despite once being home to the world’s tallest building (St. Pauls Cathedral), London is now quite clearly lagging behind its international counterparts. While it’s unlikely we’ll ever produce a skyscraper to compete with the likes of the Burj Khalifa, or the new One World Trade Centre (given London’s strict laws and guidelines regarding viewing corridors that prevent the construction of buildings that could potentially mar one’s view of the iconic London vista from Primrose Hill, for example), London’s skyline is undergoing a significant change.
As of March 2016, a study by the New London Architecture planning forum revealed that there are as many as 436 towers of 20 storeys or more currently in development in the city. As few as 3 had been refused. These new developments have sparked a passionate debate between the residents of London, architects, business owners and pressure groups such as the Skyline Campaign, who lobby against the excess of tall buildings in the capital – a debate that centres around the people of London and their lifestyle, progress and innovation, and what some consider to be outdated agreements made by the upper class over half a century ago.