London mayor Ken Livingstone has appointed developer Urban Catalyst to work on a major review of the Greater London Authority’s vision for the Thames Gateway
David Lunts, director of policy and partnerships at the GLA, is working with the firm’s consultancy arm to restructure the “GLA family” of development agencies to improve delivery of the mayor’s Urban Design and sustainable development policies.
This could involve a shake-up of the design functions of the LDA, Transport for London, the mayor’s Architecture and Urbanism Unit and the GLA itself, with potential for mergers in the offing.
At the moment all have design and sustainability units, but there has been constant concern since the Thames Gateway plan was formulated that it lacked an overriding design vision, and that the individual agencies lacked unity.
A source close to the process said the appointment was intended to assess the architectural, urban design and sustainable development support given to the GLA, LDA and TfL.
The source said: “Urban Catalyst has been appointed to review the existing arrangements in the GLA group. It involves talking to stakeholders to see if the job is being done well and if there are better ways of organising things.
Urban Catalyst will talk to the stakeholders to see if the job is being done well
“Urban Catalyst has been talking to all the organisations to work out how to deliver the mayor’s vision through the existing services, and whether there should be any mergers. All the agencies involved are buying into it.”
The firm has been talking to a range of Thames Gateway stakeholders in the past month, and is understood to be meeting Lunts’ team later in the month to discuss the findings.
The review has been given added significance because of the need for high design standards in the lower Lea Valley, which will be the focus of the world’s attention during the London 2012 Olympics.
Lunts moved from the ODPM, where he was head of urban policy, to the GLA last November.