London mayor Ken Livingstone is to announce the formation of an organisation that will draw together all the design bodies at the Greater London Authority dealing with the Olympics

Design for London will advise on the architectural development of London in the run up to 2012. It will be launched in the next few weeks and will include all the current architectural advisory groups in London. These are:

  • The GLA's Architecture and Urbanism Unit, until recently headed by Richard Rogers and now led by Ricky Burdett
  • Transport for London's design unit, headed by David Ubaka
  • The London Development Agency's design unit
  • The GLA's planning capabilities.
The idea for the new body, which will report to David Lunts, the GLA's head of policy and partnerships, emerged from a report undertaken by regeneration consultant Urban Catalyst into the benefits of merging the GLA's design bodies.

The new body will have a remit across London, will work closely with CABE and English Heritage, and will have a big role to play in vetting the designs for the 2012 Olympics.

Burdett, a professor at the London School of Economics, is likely to have a role in the organisation; he may be joined by a well known foreign architect or urban designer.

One source close to the process said Livingstone would be searching for such a figure to give Design for London credibility.

"Ken will be looking for a big hitter, and he's shown by hiring Bob Kiley on the Underground that he's happy to look abroad for the best."