Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.

London, global capital - Designing urban identities

05 June 18:30 - 20:00
Organized by: Royal Academy of Arts
Geological Society
Burlington House

While we may identify with the cities and neighbourhoods in which we live, they are also shaped by us, reflecting our needs and values as a society. We choose to live in a certain district because we relate to its built environment, its people and what it offers to our daily lives. However, cities are in continuous transformation and so are their identities. Cities must respond to the needs of their local citizens, and also to constantly changing global conditions. Global capitals are the reflection of economic, political, environmental and social interests at a worldwide scale, and their urban environment and language is defined by the actions of these agents of change.


Like many of its counterparts, London is in a continuous cycle of change. The economic interests of financial corporations, the growth of the tourist industry, migration and the consequences of Brexit all have an impact on London’s urban environment and thus its identity. In this context, architecture becomes an important currency for maintaining London’s profile as a global capital. How then is the architectural language of London evolving? What makes its architecture distinctive from Shanghai, New York, Dubai and other global capitals? Is the identity of London under threat as a result of globalisation? And, most importantly, what does all this mean for us Londoners?


Following the two previous events which focused on East and West London, our panel will debate the past, present and future of London’s identity and how its architecture is being redefined to meet the requirements of a global capital.


Speakers include:


Ben Judah – journalist; author of This is LondonRowan Moore – architecture critic, The Observer; author of Slow Burn CityCharles Saumarez Smith – Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts; author ofEast LondonFran Tonkiss – Professor of Sociology, and Deputy Head of Department, LSE; author ofCities by Design: The social life of urban formBen Rogers – Director, Centre for London (chair)