So Ikea is developing an entire neighbourhood in East London. While on the one hand, it seems slightly creepy, on the other it will almost certainly be about a million times better than any neighbourhood planned and built by a government agency in Britain. In fact it mostly sounds pretty good. Extract:
It will look, once complete, like a reproduction of the sort of historic, chic downtown neighbourhoods you find in the far more central parts of London or Paris, not in this distant expanse of former dockyards and bloodless public-housing project. At its core are straight, car-free streets lined with simple townhouses and ground-floor-access flats in five-storey rows. In the alleyways behind – an imitation of the classic London backstreet, the mews – will be little two- and three-storey homes, all with direct access to the street.
The article makes kind of a big deal of the fact that the homes will only be available for rent, not to buy, which goes somewhat against the grain of British middle-class aspirations. It’s difficult to say whether that will end up being a big deal; I kind of think that if they get the rest of it right, it might not be. Having said that, I’m personally not that interested in paying rent for the rest of my life. I guess we’ll see.