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Urban Design in London

Urban design is the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages.  It is an inter-disciplinary subject that unites all the built environment professions, including urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, and civil and municipal engineering.

In London, the Mayor is responsible for establishing a plan to shape and guide the city’s growth.  Known as the London Plan, its current version covers aspects of urban design such as sustainability and transport.  One of its key aims is to develop London as a compact city.


To learn more about what is planned, and what has been completed recently, there is no better place to go than the Building Centre in Store Street, just off Tottenham Court Road in London.

The centre is open to the public, free of charge, and contains a massive, detailed scale model of London, the Piper Central London Model.  The model is 12 metres long and built to a scale of 1:1500.  The model is updated regularly, and all major new developments, plus planned ones with firm planning permission, are highlighted in white.  The buildings are cut from sheets of perspex, with one layer of perspex per building storey.  It took 15 model makers 9 months to make.

Piper Central London Model

One part of London that has undergone a phenomenal amount of development in recent times is Kings Cross, with its stunning new station and revitalised surrounding area.  In fact, it is one of the largest inner city redevelopment projects in Europe, covering 67 acres of brownfield land.



There is now a new boutique-style hotel, that I recommend highly, and the canal area to the rear of the station has been tidied and redeveloped and now houses an arts college and a few restaurants. At the moment (summer 2013), it also has a big screen showing Wimbledon.


Whether interested in urban design or not, the Piper Model is a must-see display for anyone living in or visiting in London:
The Building Centre
26 Store Street, London,   WC1E 7BT

Related posts on the local area:
Store Street Espresso coffee shop
Treadwell’s Bookshop
Ridgmount petrol station mural

Posted as part of Jakesprinter’s Sunday Post Challenge: Urban Design.

2 replies »

  1. Fascinating! I haven’t been for a couple of years and things can change so quickly in the city. I wasn’t aware of this model so will look out for it next time I’m there. 🙂


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