Is London growing too big too fast?

Tuesday 5 October 2010, 18.30 – 20.00

Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £6 / £4 concessions

London is the most populated city in Europe, and still growing. Migration has brought wealth and new talent, but there is a need to ensure the infrastructure meets new needs.

What kinds of innovations do we need in the twenty-first century? Can dynamism in past innovation, from the railways and the docks to airports and Canary Wharf, inspire us to respond to new challenges, or should we just put the brakes on and protect London from change?


Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Development Agency
Sir Terry Farrell, Terry Farrell and Partners, architect and author of Shaping London: The Patterns and Forms That Make the Metropolis
David Green, director, Civitas
James Heartfield, author  of Let’s Build!
Chris Luebkeman, head of Foresight, Incubation and Innovation, Arup
Chair: Austin Williams, Future Cities Project


Future City debate: Is London growing too big too fast? from Future City on Vimeo.


Chris Luebkeman, head of Foresight, Incubation and Innovation, Arup

Chris is the Global Director for Foresight and Innovation at Arup, he spends half of his time travelling the world observing the faces and facets of change.  Because of the places he’s been and people he’s met with Arup, Chris is an eternal optimist who believes in human potential. His insatiable curiosity is reflected in his education as a geologist, structural engineer and architect.  Chris is a fourth generation educator who has taught at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the University of Oregon, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chris specializes as a generalist with a view of being “in league with the future”. He has been described as the “Willy Wonka of the built environment” and was listed as one of the ten future speculators and shapers “Who will change the Way we live”, in Wallpaper Magazine (2002).  He leads a small, globally distributed team at Arup who help focus the firm, its clients and friends on the forces which are, and will be, driving change. 

Sir Terry Farrell, Terry Farrell and Partners, architect and author of Shaping London: The Patterns and Forms That Make the Metropolis

Sir Terry Farrell is principal and founder of architecture practice Terry Farrell & Partners. The practice designed the TV-am studios in Camden Lock, MI6′s Vauxhall headquarters, and the Home Office complex in Marsham Street; it lead the redevelopment of the Comyn Ching Triangle in London’s Covent Garden and Charing Cross Station; and it was responsible for the conversion of the Grade I listed Royal Institution of Great Britain in Albemarle Street. Sir Terry is author of Shaping London: The Patterns and Forms That Make the Metropolis, and in 2008 was appointed by the UK Government as Design and Planning Leader for the Thames Gateway, Europe’s largest regeneration project. He was also appointed by Mayor Boris Johnson to oversee the regeneration of up to five suburban ‘growth hubs’ as part of a new phase of London’s development.

David Green, director, Civitas

Before founding Civitas in 2000, Dr David Green had been at the Institute of Economic Affairs since 1984, and Director of the IEA Health and Welfare Unit since 1986. He was a Labour councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne from 1976 until 1981, and from 1981 to 1983 was a Research Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra.

His books include Power and Party in an English City, Allen & Unwin, 1980; Mutual Aid or Welfare State, Allen & Unwin, 1984, with L. Cromwell; Working Class Patients and the Medical Establishment, Temple Smith/Gower, 1985; and The New Right: The Counter Revolution in Political, Economic and Social Thought, Wheatsheaf, 1987; Reinventing Civil Society, IEA, 1993; Community Without Politics: A Market Approach to Welfare Reform, IEA, 1996; Benefit Dependency: How Welfare Undermines Independence (1998); An End to Welfare Rights: The Rediscovery of Independence (1999); Delay, Denial and Dilution (1999) (with Laura Casper); and Stakeholder Health Insurance, London: Civitas, 2000; Crime and Civil Society: Can we become a more law-abiding people?, London: Civitas, 2005; We’re (Nearly) all Victims Now: how political correctness is undermining our liberal culture, London: Civitas, 2006; and Individualists Who Co-operate: Education and welfare reform befitting a free people, London: Civitas, 2009. He contributed the chapter on ‘The Neo-Liberal Perspective’ in Blackwell’s The Student’s Companion to Social Policy (2nd ed, 2003).

He writes occasionally for newspapers, including in recent years pieces in the The Sunday Times, The Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph. He occasionally broadcasts on programmes such as Newsnight, the Moral Maze and the Today programme. He was a member of the Home Secretary’s Crime Statistics Review Group, which in 2006 recommended improvements in the collection of the crime figures.

Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Development Agency

Peter trained in town planning at Manchester University and has spent his entire career working in London.

Over the past 20 years he has been a Planning director in four different Central London Boroughs and has worked in major projects including Canary Wharf, the development of the BBC’s campus at White City and the Kings Cross developments, one of the largest and most complex sites in London.

He was appointed as the first Director of Design for London in 2006 and in 2008 as Group Director of the London Development Agency, responsible for design, land development and its environmental, housing and public space programmes.

Peters lectures and teaches extensively and is a visiting professor at the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Nottingham Trent University.

James Heartfield, author of Let’s Build!

Writer and lecturer James Heartfield is a director of the development think-tank, audacity. He is author of Let’s Build!: Why We Need Five Million New Homes in the Next 10 Years (audacity, 2006). He lives in north London with his wife and two daughters. Read on…

Chair: Austin Williams, Future Cities Project