18th January 2024

Thinking beyond boundaries


Ahead of the launch of the New London Agenda, our CEO Stephen O’Malley has shared why it’s vital to think beyond boundaries in an article published by the NLA.

The New London Agenda is a multi-year project that sets a vision for the future of London and its built environment, presenting the top issues that need to be tackled over the next London political term, and the best new ideas and solutions to make the city fit for the future.

Developed by NLA, and supported by civic and industry leaders, the New London Agenda brings together high-level thinking developed with participation of over 300 multi-disciplinary experts and leaders.

Setting the scene ahead of the launch, Stephen’s article explores why it is critical to break boundaries in order to contribute real improvement in places and projects. The full article can be found here, with key points including:

  • The seismic and unprecedented climatic, cultural, medical, and technological disruptions society has faced, and how these factors have fundamentally changed our life expectations and strengthened our understanding of the interdependence between each of these strands. It’s now a mainstream view that the world’s population and the planet belongs to a single integrated system.
  • How urban environments and their corollary lifestyles have very different patterns and needs than those from the last millennium.
  • Yet all too frequently, our elected representatives are working within systems that are underfunded with the pressure of political cycles, meaning MPs are operating in near-constant campaign mode. This sets policy decisions up for little cross-party collaboration and a preference for popularist decisions, offering oversimplified, unworkable answers to complex problems, rather than long term solutions.
  • Against this backdrop we are all tasked, as professionals and leaders of industry, with the duty to think beyond boundaries, and constructively challenge the governance and conditions we encounter.
  • We must remain courageous if we are to bring about progress, sustaining positive momentum even when policies regress, or ambitious schemes are jettisoned, and when housing ministers come and go. Our relationship with our natural environment, especially when planning and delivering our built environment, is vital to providing the conditions which allow us to achieve these goals, enabling our society to thrive.
  • Thinking beyond boundaries is about taking the initiative and contributing more fully to the places and projects we are tasked with improving: enabling our communities to live in closer harmony with nature, travelling shorter distances, accessing more, consuming conscientiously and living more efficiently.
  • We can capitalise on the disruption we have experienced by applying creativity, emotional intelligence and technical excellence to deliver positive change for London and beyond.

[Image credit: Gascoigne Estate Phase 2 via NLA]

Thinking beyond boundaries