When I started this site on 1st February this year, it was a strictly personal thing which aimed to carry on the coverage of London’s politics, development and culture I’d been producing for the Guardian for nine years. Some influential friends wished me well and since then I’ve been helped by a group of guest writers to build the site into something bigger, broader and better than it could ever have been if written by me alone. As 2017 draws to a close, here are some of the highlights from those busy people who’ve so kindly found the time to write things for me. If you missed them at the time, I hope you can find time to read them now.
- I’ve published articles by politicians from across the party spectrum: Conservative Daniel Moylan on mayoral strategies and the economics of Heathrow expansion; Green Party London Assembly Members Caroline Russell and Siân Berry on, respectively, the evolution of the Olympic Park fringe and the rights of housing estate residents; Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon on the case for Crossrail 2; and Labour councillor Sam Stopp on London poverty, his party’s prospects for the forthcoming borough elections and why the Bank of England should not be moved to Birmingham.
- From think tanks and academia, On London has been graced by writing from Jack Brown of the King’s College Strand Group on the London Stadium, Canary Wharf and why London must learn from history as Brexit nears; from the RSA’s Antony Painter on the idea of a London Basic Income; and from Centre for London’s Ben Rogers on what national government could learn from London government.
- The design, architecture and overall spatial evolution of the city are of vital importance as it strives to meet the needs of its fast-growing population. I’ve been delighted to receive contributions on these themes from Jack Sallabank, arguing that amid the terror threat, London should make its bridges bloom; from Chris Paddock, who made the case that much can still be learned from Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s 1944 Greater London Plan; and from Peter Murray of New London Architecture and the London Society on West End boulevards, the ongoing history of Garden Bridge schemes and how good cycling policy can drive “good growth”.
- The list continues. John Myers of campaign group London Yimby gave two cheers for key housing development measures in Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan. Karen Buck MP and Richard Brown of Centre for London each wrote a lovely piece about London songs. And last but definitely not least, London poet and former Guardian leader writer Victor Keegan has been finding fascinating bits of Lost London on a weekly basis.
I have plans for improving On London still more in 2018. More on that to come. But for now, thank you to everyone who has visited and supported the site in 2017. It’s been a difficult, frightening and distressing year in the capital in many ways. Let’s hope 2018 is a happier one.