Making London beautiful

Arguably the most important set of documents affecting the culture and creative sectors in London have just been published.

No, not the Arts Council’s funding plans, nor the Mayor’s Culture Strategy.

Published today are the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, and his London Plan – or, at least, a draft of both.  The latter setting out a strategy which seeks to make London’s shared space “more beautiful”.

They are both available here.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Culture Strategy is more important:  in practice it is the London Plan which dictates how local government in particular, and a host of other local, regional and national governmental partners operate to support creative and cultural development. Setting out guidelines for cultural quarters, creative workspace, and for public space, the London Plan will have a significant impact on the health of the creative and cultural sectors over coming years.

I’ve only had a skim read, but initial viewing suggests that Boris has a good handle on the issues – notwithstanding the predictable emphasis on assisting outer London.

The Economic Development Strategy, meanwhile, appears less forthcoming about the role of culture and the creative sectors in supporting, stimulating and enriching the London economy.  Despite passing references to London Fashion Week and Film Festival, it’s hardly teeming with ideas on how best to support and promote London’s second biggest sector.   Given the parlous state of the LDA over recent years, maybe that’s no bad thing.  On the other hand, even the Party of small government will know that public spaces don’t get beautiful all by themselves.