Congratulations 'Long Live Southbank' / by Tom Oliver Payne


This week we've heard the incredible news of the win for the Long Live Southbank campaign.

Just a year ago I wrote the article Are Our greatest Cities Destroying Their Greatest Assets? in support of the skate spot. Careful not naively underplay the complexity of the issue, I explained that the tension that exists over the space spans far beyond what is occurring in London and is deeply interconnected with global processes.

I argued that as cities compete with each other, they construct bigger towers, host more events, attract larger investments and market themselves as the greenest, healthiest, most liveable and most global. At the same time, they’re destroying what actually makes them special—the organic spaces that breed creativity and spread culture across the globe.

What spaces like the Southbank Undercroft represent is far more important than what could ever replace them. By razing spaces like them, cities like London lose the very assets that makes them unique.

With the Southbank Centre having the right to develop the land as the lawful owner of the land, there is no arguing that this was a highly contentious campaign. The decision earmarks what could be a new approach to cultural and heritage assets, and will hopefully empower governments to finance the ongoing protection of similar assets in future.

Feature image LLSB.