Central London under Reconstruction Policy and Planning, 1940-1959
thesisposted on 28.05.2010, 11:18 by Emmanuel V. Marmaras
The thesis deals with the formation of the post-Second World War reconstruction and planning machinery in Great Britain on the one hand, and on the other, with the replanning efforts undertaken in London and especially the redevelopment programme regarding its central area in the form of the comprehensive development projects. The central hypothesis is that, although the planning thought, legislation and technique realised significant evolutionary steps by introducing important innovatory instruments and bold planning concepts, the rebuilding of Central London was not a success to a comparable extent. This divergence between concept, plan and outcome was mainly due to the difficulties faced during the implementation stage as a result of financial problems and, in addition, to the way that the application of aspects of Modern Architecture in some of the new buildings were carried out. The work is structured in three parts. The first one, under the title "Reconstruction and Planning Machinery", explores the administrative and statutory developments in town planning matters during the period 1940-1959. The conclusion of this analysis is that, because of the sweeping character of the new planning system which was introduced, a contradiction had emerged due to the pluralistic character of the British socio-economic system. The second part has the title “Replanning London” and deals with the plans proposed for London as a whole during the 1940s. The main finding was that the six plans which were proposed could be considered as sections of one planning endeavour. These plans have a unified and continuous character, although each one had been prepared by a different team of planners. Finally, the third part, under the title “Redeveloping Central London”, examines the proposals for the rebuilding of the City of London and for specific areas of Central London located on both sides of the Thames. The main conclusion of this analysis is that, although these projects introduced innovations concerning the control of urban dencities, and the hygiene of residence and office accommodation in the city centre, they failed to achieve one of their main targets. This was the unification of both parts of Central London located at the north and south banks of the Thames.