London night city scene

New NLA Insight Study Published: London's Towns

The New London Architecture (NLA) research, championed by Countryside, examines the evolution of London and its towns, and explores London’s potential future as a truly polycentric city.

London is facing unprecedented change, as its population is expected to grow to over 11 million by 2050, necessitating a minimum of 50,000 new homes in London each year. We are already seeing a greater shift of people and businesses settling beyond the centre, and this trend is only set to increase. The NLA Insight Study, published in October 2017, found that outer London’s towns are the key to unlocking capacity for London as a whole, whether long-established town centres, such as Croydon, Kingston and Romford, or newer planned and emerging ones, such as Canada Water, Old Oak Common and Silvertown.

The Study found several key conditions for ensuring ‘good growth’ in London’s towns:

  • Better physical and digital connectivity
  • Robust shared visions and plans
  • Better use of local character as the foundation for new development
  • Innovative, high-quality mixed development
  • Incremental, phased growth
  • Denser development that respects local character

These conditions of placemaking have guided the regeneration schemes we have been completing across London for the last 35 years, and so we welcome the wider recognition they will now receive.

The Study was conducted over a series of months, with in-depth research, interviews with key experts, industry-focused roundtables, and a major design workshop. London’s Towns showcases over 150 developments, ideas and initiatives currently underway across outer London, including Countryside schemes Becontree Heath, Beam Park, Marlowe Road, Millbrook Park and Churchill Gardens.