Our first official day as edge Urban Design started with a bang!
Taking full advantage of Sarah’s Swedish connections, we were honoured to host Johan Bergman, Director of Housing & Environment at Järfalla Kommun (a municipality to the north-west of Stockholm), and his team in London for a guided tour of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and King’s Cross Central development to explore some of the recent delights that British masterplanning has to offer. Johan and his team are currently planning for a 28,000 home, high-density urban extension to Järfalla and were keen to gain an understanding for how large-scale development in the UK is implemented and how various constraints to development have been overcome in London.
The day began with us providing the Swedish delegates with an overview of the Olympic Park including the history and planning process, focusing on the efforts employed to ensure a legacy development. The guided tour commenced in the south at the Aquatics Centre and ended at the Velodrome, passing predominantly through the central spine of parkland. Throughout our tour, we observed the landscaping, public realm, and architecture as well as answering questions.
On route to King’s Cross, we provided a synopsis of the King’s Cross Central development, focusing on its strategic location within London, the need to open up this previously inaccessible industrial heritage site and the placemaking techniques utilised to deliver this exciting mixed-use development. We visited the various squares, new buildings, and renovations as well as the visitor centre where we were able to discuss the design in more detail whilst studying the model of the site and its proposals.
The day was rounded off with a talk by Charles Campion and Rebecca Taylor, Partners at JTP LLP, focusing on the merits of a robust approach to community engagement in the planning process as well as structured design reviews at every stage. They showcased some of their many successful masterplanning projects that Järfalla can hopefully draw inspiration from and help shape their future plans.
We were touched to receive a concrete Järfalla sheep as thanks for our organisation and guidance throughout the day. The sheep is a symbol representing Järfalla’s past, present, and future and is truly fitting for the journey we are about to embark on with edge Urban Design and our desire to leave a legacy with our approach to masterplanning.