To Preserve Its Skyline, London May Limit Skyscrapers

Preservationists are calling for buffer zones around the city's heritage sites, which could upset Mayor Ken Livingstone's plans to spur urban regeneration with new high-rise buildings.

"Preservationists in Great Britain are backing stronger planning powers that would affect the look-and height-of London's future buildings. In March, the government released its White Paper on Heritage, which called for creating development buffer zones around 27 World Heritage sites, including the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament. It followed closely on the heels of calls from UNESCO to prevent skyscraper construction near heritage sites that are at risk from rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.

Among the towers that could be affected by an exclusion zone is Rafael Viñoly's so-called "Walkie-Talkie," a 630-foot-tall skyscraper that Land Securities seeks to develop near the Tower of London."

"Ken Livingstone, London's mayor, has no objections to the tower's height. But the White Paper proposals, which could become law this year, create a dilemma for him. Livingstone promotes skyscraper construction as a tool for encouraging urban revitalization. Indeed, other legislation currently making its way through Parliament would expand his power to intervene and promote buildings that he personally favors."

Full Story: London's Sky Gateway Could be Closed

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