Plight Of The Modern Suburb

"Communities need to retain the character that attracted people there"

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Developed in the late 1800s, Bedford Park was the world’s first garden suburb

The London Assembly

The Mayor of London

London’s suburbs such as Chiswick, Acton, Putney and Ealing, have apparently been "quietly struggling to adapt to significant challenges that are changing the face of suburbia as we know it."

A recent report published by The London Assembly has found that suburbs “are in danger of becoming dormitories that are too dependent on private car use and lacking the local jobs, amenities, community assets and the good quality open space that once made them so desirable.”

The Mayor has set ambitious targets for each borough to increase housing stock over the next ten years, and almost half of all new housing in London will be built in the suburbs up until 2016.

Yet the Mayor’s London Plan forecasts a loss of employment in the suburbs as more jobs go to the centre of London or the town centres beyond the M25.

Tony Arbour, chairman of the Assembly's planning and spatial development committee, said suburbs were popular because they offered "a welcome break from the bustle, the noise and the dirt and the cramped greyness of much of city life".

He added, "Londoners from Hampton Wick to Hackney Wick would say that they live in their own local community. Places in their own right make up suburban London and they need to retain the character that attracted people there.

"We need to reconnect homes with local jobs, unite communities with community assets and strike the right balance between housing and green space.”

The report notes that although the suburbs are regarded as stable, they now face significant challenges, including the closure of local shops.

June 21, 2007