London Docklands is an area in east and southeast London. This area forms part of the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich. This name of London Docklands was first used in a report issued by government during its redesigning plans in 1971 (Foster, 2000). This assignment is intended to provide some background on why the area was redeveloped, what was the approach applied and evaluation of its success in terms of its objectives.
Why the area was redeveloped?
In late 1930s, London Docks had become one of the busiest parts of London. By the 1970s, this area had become so obsolete and had become a derelict wasteland. Hence, it had to be redesigned and redeveloped. Further, by 1960s, there were obvious impacts of closure of London Docks (Foster, 2000). Unemployment was also growing in London’s riverside boroughs. Local residents also began to leave the docks since 25% of jobs around the area had lost (Foster, 2000). Hence, jobs disappeared and residents started leaving the area. As a result, local authorities were faced with a tough challenge that what they would do with 51,000 acres of riverside land. During 1970s, local authorities along with The Port of London Authority and Greater London Council started making strategies to regenerate London Dockland area (Foster, 2000). As the result of formulation of numerous strategies for development of London Dockland area, a strategic plan was given by PLA, GLC and local authorities. However, the plan wasn’t implemented at that time and frustrated due to lack of funds (Foster, 2000). In 1981, London Docklands Development Corporation was formed by Margaret Thatcher. This development committee was formed to manage the redevelopment of the area of London Docklands which also included former dock land and dock basins (Foster, 2000). The aim of London Docklands Development Corporation or LDDC was to attract investors in the area, particularly in Isle of Dogs by enhancing its connections and transport.
What was the approach applied?
The approach applied to build London Dockland area was simple and clear and focused on attracting private investment in that area. For this, a corporation called London Docklands Development Corporation was also formed in 1981 (East London Advertiser, 2002). In 1982, the old dockland was designated with Enterprise Zone. It referred to an area where they lightened the planning restrictions and financial benefits were also offered to potential buyers. In that period, housing prices also started rising (Butler, 2007). Hence, developers were tempted to buy high cost living which couldn’t be afforded by people. The LDDC was allocated public funding, power to acquire land and control over planning (East London Advertiser, 2002). This corporation also recognized that people love and working by water. Hence, the filling of old-docks was stopped and Docklands became a popular spot for people to live and work. One of the approaches followed during redesigning London Dockland area was improving the transportation. It was considered a key to redevelopment of London Dockland (East London Advertiser, 2002). Since potential tenants of the new office development wanted more transport efficient links to city so LDDC was engaged in improving transportation and connections. The first stage during the redevelopment of London Dockland area was building of Docklands Railway Links (East London Advertiser, 2002). In 1987, the initial stretch from Tower Gateway to southern end of Isle of Dogs was opened. With the financial support from Olympia and York, an extension to DLR was completed in the centre of city in 1991 (East London Advertiser, 2002). However, later stretches could mean that people living in other areas could get jobs easily and also get the benefit of getting good housing in that area. Olympia and York played a great role in support financially during the redevelopment of London Dockland area. This was the time when developers of Greenwich peninsula also offered to contribute (East London Advertiser, 2002). Despite of numerous economic uncertainties, these railway links encouraged commercial tenants to Canary Wharf. This area has been converted from dereliction to a glittering 21st century landscape in 1970s. These included development of high rise offices, shops, health clubs and leisure facilities (East London Advertiser, 2002).
Evaluation of its success in terms of its objectives
London Dockland referred to an area where they lightened the planning restrictions and financial benefits were also offered to potential buyers. In that period, housing prices also started rising. Hence, developers were tempted to buy high cost living which couldn’t be afforded by people (Ponsford, 2008). Overall, the London Dockland area has been able to meet the objectives for which it was built. The population of the area has almost doubled and after redevelopment, the area has become one of the business hubs in the country. Further, people are tempted to live in this area. With Isle of Dogs getting a tube connection, the transportation in the area has improved significantly (Ponsford, 2008). Moreover, DLR has also been extended to other areas such as Beckton, London City Airport, Lewisham and Stratford. Old Dockland wharfs and warehouses have been demolished but some of these have been renewed and transformed into flats. Besides this, there was redevelopment of London Dockland led to massive boom of housing prices and property boom (Ponsford, 2008). Hence, there is rising friction between new arrivals and old communities of Dockland area. London Docklands also boasts its own newspaper, The Dockland which is a mixture of news about lifestyle, living and other topics (Ponsford, 2008). The revival of dockland area proved beneficial for run-down surrounding areas. Some of the undergoing development areas were Greenwich and Deptford.
In nutshell, redevelopment of London Dockland was result of two key factors unemployment and poverty. This provoked people to leave that area and move to other areas in search of jobs. Unemployment grew in London’s riverside boroughs and as a result, local residents also began to leave the docks (Florio, 2000). For local authorities, it was a tough challenge that what they would do with 51,000 acres of riverside land. It consequently led to many benefits and successes such as being one of the largest business centers in country.
Butler, P. (2007). Re-urbanizing London Docklands. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2007
Florio, S. (2000). London Docklands and redevelopment. tandfonline.com.
Foster, P. (2000). Royal release for IRA bomber. Telegraph. Retrieved 11-11-2014..
East London Advertiser.(2008). Docklands Sinfonia’ strikes chord to put East End on culture map.
Ponsford, D. (2008). Sharing with Mail ‘will safeguard future of Independent’. Press Gazette.