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Planning, Politics and City Making: A Case Study of King's Cross
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
Date Published: Oct 2016
Stock Code: 86318
Total votes: 0
Whilst there is extensive literature analysing the design and function of new buildings and places, the actual process through which development proposals are actually fashioned – through complex negotiation and deal making, involving many different stakeholders with different agendas – is largely undocumented. Conventional planning theory tends to assume a logical, rational and linear decision-making process, which bears little relationship to reality. This book aims to shed some light on that reality.
The King’s Cross scheme is one of the largest and most complex developments taking place in Britain today. The planning negotiations, which took six years, were probably some of the most exhaustive debates around a development ever. A report of over 600 pages of technical information was eventually presented to committee, and after two evenings and ten hours of presentations and debate, the committee approved the scheme by just two votes.
Drawing on first-hand interviews and full access to previously confidential material from primary sources, Planning, Politics and City Making: A Case Study of King’s Cross is a fascinating insight into a rarely-told story.
It is vital that the processes through which large-scale urban projects evolve and are realised is documented and commented on. To this end, Peter and Lesley’s book is a brilliant and indispensable contribution.
Peter Wynne Reese CBE
Planning is neither rocket science nor brain surgery - it is more complex, difficult and vital than either. This is a story of inspired creativity, dogged determination and exemplary teamwork. When you finish reading it, pass it to your MP and ask why recent governments have disempowered the British planning system.
Date Reviewed: October 2016
I have not read the book but I can see that the cover is misleading as to what has actually happened. The Victorian Coal Drops stretching across the centre in front of the converted gasometers are shown with their original straight saddleback roofs retained - as they should have been. Instead, these roofs are being twisted up in a giant curve called 'kissing roofs', to turn the Coal Drops into Kings Cross's 'main retail offer', contrary both to the original Master Plan and to the wishes of all relevant amenity societies, but with the backing of Historic England
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