Cast your mind back 15 years, to when the section of east London now centred around the former 2012 Olympic Village was dominated by industrial buildings, artist-inhabited old warehouses and neglected high streets.
This area is unrecognisable today, with new flats, Westfield Stratford City shops and pedestrian, cyclist and public transport-focused planning. House prices have been transformed, too – up a staggering 925 per cent in 20 years to just under £500,000.
But, looking ahead, where’s the “next Olympic Village”? A report from New London Architecture looks back over the years since the think tank was founded in 2005, identifies the areas with big plans for the next 15 years and pinpoints 10 zones it expects to see the biggest changes.
“London has always been a city of villages, and those centres which can accommodate a mix of housing, workplaces and leisure are likely to be most resilient in a post-Covid London,” says Catherine Staniland, director of New London Architecture.
So, which are the neighbourhoods to watch for 2035?
East and south-east London
Peabody housing association is set to deliver 8,000 new homes and create 4,000 jobs, while improving access to five kilometres of riverbank, seven kilometres of canals, six lakes, three nature reserves and 350 acres of open space.
In March residents voted for plans to regenerate the Lesnes Estate, replacing old houses with new energy-efficient homes.
Nicknamed Barcelona on Thames for its riverside public realm and Berlin on Thames thanks to planned artist studios and creative workshops, Barking Riverside in east London is one of London’s largest development sites, with a masterplan for more than 10,000 homes and seven new schools.
On 443 acres of former Barking Power Station land along 2km of the Thames, the scheme’s new transport links include a London Overground extension, now under construction, and a river bus service.
The City of London Corporation has applied for planning permission to relocate the historic Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield wholesale markets to the site.
One of the most central areas picked out as a future regeneration hotspot, Canada Water is an area of converted south-east London docklands dominated by an Eighties shopping centre and the Harmsworth Quays printworks — where the Evening Standard was among newspapers printed — which closed in 2012.
Jubilee line and London Overground extensions mean that by 2029 the area will be a transport hub for more people than Liverpool Street, King’s Cross, Bank and Oxford Circus and a huge British Land development is set to transform the soulless town centre, with a focus on parks and pedestrianised shopping streets.
This is a key area of dense development inside the green belt, aimed at minimising urban sprawl.
A Greenwich Peninsula masterplan has been in place since 1999, with the Millennium Dome firing the starting pistol for the south-east London district’s shift from industrial to residential.
At completion in 2035, the peninsula will boast seven distinct neighbourhoods.
It already has Docklands Light Railway, Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames and London City airport — but the Crossrail station at Custom House promises to plug Royal Docks, in east London, fully into the capital’s transport network.
Plans are also afoot to open London’s first new major shipyard since the 19th century alongside a new international business district, creative community and almost 25,000 new homes. And Royal Docks is a potential relocation site for the London Assembly.
Old Kent Road
Two possible new Tube stations along the Old Kent Road — if the Bakerloo line extension happens — is a major driving factor behind a 20-year redevelopment programme that could bring as many as 12,000 new homes and 10,000 jobs to this part of Southwark.
Developer London Square’s scheme on the site of the old Crosse & Blackwell factory, and the Malt Street development by Berkeley Homes, replacing former warehouses, are among major homes projects planned.
The regenerated historic former military site at the Royal Arsenal welcomed its first residents 20 years ago with one of the largest concentrations of converted listed buildings in Britain at its heart.
Thanks to the anticipated Crossrail links in the area, the masterplan has grown outward from there – with Woolwich town centre getting a reboot with a pedestrian and cycling link to the Royal Arsenal and a new leisure centre on the cards.
Old Oak and Park Royal
The £26 billion regeneration of Old Oak Common and Park Royal in west London is the next major work In the grand plan.
The 160-acre wasteland in Acton will be revived by a new £1 billion transport superhub — the only HS2 and Crossrail interchange — plus a high street linking the station with the £3 billion Imperial College campus.
This new micro town will unify an area already home to 4,000 residents, 2,000 businesses and 43,000 workers alongside Wormwood Scrubs common and six kilometres of Grand Union Canal.
A three-year cultural programme is under way to connect these micro communities. Homes are on sale in Old Oak’s One West Point, a 54-storey tower with gym, yoga studio, soft play and co-working space. From £599,000 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Old Oak will mark the start of the west London regeneration corridor through Ealing, Southall and Hanwell. A new residential quarter, 127 West Ealing, launches this month with 142 one- to four-bedroom homes and communal gardens.
It will be a two-minute walk from West Ealing station, a Crossrail stop from next year. Prices from £475,000, visit 127west-ealing.com for more.
A new Thameslink station at Brent Cross will be operational by 2022, offering 15-minute trains to King’s Cross, and the 180-acre scheme has just been granted a £148 million loan from Homes England to accelerate delivery of the 6,700 new homes planned for the area spanning the North Circular.
There are also plans to revitalise the shopping centre, which is currently the main draw to the area, with new restaurants, a cinema and a hotel.
Part of the Upper Lee Valley, one of the largest Opportunity Areas in the capital, Meridian Water is a 20-year regeneration programme led by Enfield council.
A new station opened last year and there are plans for 10,000 homes – 40 per cent of them to be affordable – plus public spaces and community facilities on the 210-acre site just off the North Circular.