David Robinson and Will Horwitz
Changing London is a rough guide for the next Mayor, capturing the radical but practical ideas of the people of London with a pioneering and collaborative approach to politics.
Via a small website the authors asked Londoners for ideas using the formal powers of the mayoralty and also the “super powers” – the voice, the visibility and the unique capacity to convene. This book brings together hundreds of suggestions, plus experiences learnt from cities around the world, under five big visions for London.
What would the city look like if we determined to make it the best place on earth to raise a child? Or if it was a friendly city, where neighbourhoods thrived and everybody mattered? How could we build a fair city where lavish wealth is as unwelcome as abject poverty and both have been abolished? Or maybe a healthy city, that did no harm and tackled sickness at source? And, to lead it all, how should we revitalise and retool a sham democracy which saw only 38% vote in the last mayoral election?
Ideas range from play streets to plotting sheds, London Sundays to a Have-a-Go Festival, a permanent Fair Pay Commission, a Children’s Trust Fund and a cultural guarantee for every child, citizens budgets, a Mayor’s Share in the biggest businesses and the April Vote – an annual London referendum.
These and hundreds more are not a manifesto for the next mayor but a rough guide – a glimpse of how our city could look if we dared to gaze beyond the cautious consensus that has infected Westminster debate, and if we reclaimed the city as a place we share and build together.
This is the book the voters wrote. It is vital reading for those who would be Mayor and those who will decide.
London is a great city but it could be even better. We need to make it more affordable, fight inequality and stand up for the diversity which makes London a great city. This book has interesting ideas on all of this. — Diane Abbott
London has it all, but underneath the surface our city faces an inequality crisis. We are becoming a city of the rich and the rest, living together but growing apart. The next mayor of London has to address the inequality pulling our city apart. This book helps show the way. — Tessa Jowell
Changing London has shown how politics should be done. David and the team have produced a wide range of bold and radical ideas for making London a city that actually works. Most importantly, they have done it through collaboration with real Londoners. This is a hugely exciting project. — Sadiq Khan
Changing London has led the way in producing serious, sensible and innovative ideas for the type of London we all want to see. It is this kind of fresh thinking that is required. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in London’s future. — David Lammy
I greatly applaud Changing London’s efforts to widen interest in the mayoralty and the role of the mayor. I particularly like the suggestions to engage local communities and people in discussions about the mayor, as City Hall can sometimes appear remote from ordinary Londoners. — Christian Wolmar
If you love London as your city and your home, please do read this excellent book… Is the political class ready for this kind of radical democratic politics? It doesn’t matter. Don’t wait for permission or nothing will change. — From the foreword by Jon Cruddas