The City of London Diversifies With New Mall

The City of London - the financial district comprised of one square mile of London's Roman boundary has erected a new shopping center that planners hope will stimulate the area's development as a competitor to the busier West End.
September 13, 2010, 9am PDT | George Haugh
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"The new mall, which takes Cheapside back to its roots ("cheap" means market), is expected to put pressure on other shops to extend their opening hours and could transform the Square Mile with its 10,000 residents from a ghost town at weekends into a tourist mecca," writes Julia Kollewe.

Peter Rees, the City of London's planning officer, says: "You've got to keep rebranding in terms of making a place better all the time." He is convinced the City is becoming more fun, noting, for example, that the nightclubs clustered in Cornhill are busy well into the early hours.

One of Rees' buzzwords is "place-making", by which he means the art of linking up the spaces between buildings with pedestrian routes – 90% of all journeys in the City are made on foot – and providing places where people can relax, such as small parks and fountains.

He sees the City as a "collection of beehives on top of a compost heap" and stresses the importance of having alleyways, pubs and coffee shops where people can linger and gossip. "That's very difficult to codify and plan for, but very easy to kill with bad planning."

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Published on Thursday, September 9, 2010 in The Guardian
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