Urban Livability and Innovation

By LS Estates

It was a pleasure to be part of the Round Table hosted by Arcadis, with leading commentary from both Chris Hayward from the City of London CorporationPierre-Yves Guice from Ladefense.

A few thoughts from today's Round Table:

As we pivot into a post-pandemic world, two of Europe's leading financial capitals, London and Paris, are redefining what it means to be a destination city in today's dynamic environment.

Destination: London London, a city synonymous with both history and innovation, is on the brink of an exciting new era. With an influx of new investments and a booming technology sector, the City of London is not just surviving but thriving, showcasing resilience and adaptability. The City of London's business landscape has impressively grown from 540,000 pre-COVID commuters to approximately 614,000 today, with the technology sector now driving occupational takeup (Apple, Tiktok etc).

It is however not just the City of London, it is a combination of all the London Boroughs and BIDs promoting London that make London a compelling proposition today.

But what truly makes London a global beacon of opportunity? The answer lies in its commitment to fostering a safe and conducive environment for business, through its relentless drive to create a diverse city of work and living #urbanlivability. Furthermore, huge investments in the Elizabeth line, thoughtful public spaces like pocket parks and sky gardens, and a strategic focus on high-quality office spaces highlight London's dedication to both economic growth and quality of life. This holistic approach aims not only to attract but also to retain businesses, fueling a vibrant, inclusive economy.

Paris La Défense: Reimagining Urban Business Life West of Paris, La Défense stands as a testament to urban innovation and resilience. With 4 million sq m of built office space and a dynamic population of 70,000 students (which was very surprising to me), this business district faced the challenge of reinventing itself post-COVID. As the area witnessed a shift towards an older demographic, the imperative to maintain its appeal became clear. La Défense responded by transforming vacant office towers into residential and cultural spaces, thereby breathing new life into the district. The focus on decarbonising the energy grid, breaking up on the 'concrete jungle' through enhancing public spaces, and promoting urban density underscores La Défense's commitment to sustainable, vibrant urban living.

Both cities share a common vision: to not only attract global attention and investment but to create environments where people genuinely want to live, work, and thrive.

#DestinationCity #UrbanInnovation #London #ParisLaDéfense