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How outcome focussed delivery can create 'a better city for all Londoners'

Mike McNicholas | 01 Feb 2017 | Comments

When I first read Sadiq Khan’s ‘A City For All Londoners’ I was heartened by a number of things – the ambition for better air quality and ‘healthy streets’, the promise of an affordable and accessible transport system and the aim for more effective and sustainable land use. No one who lives in London and loves this city can disagree with the desire to create ‘a better city for all Londoners’.

The more I think about it though, the more I’m interested in the unanswered question for our industry – what impact can designers and engineers make on building a better city for all? 

To make this a city that truly benefits everyone, we need to focus the planning, design and delivery of our infrastructure on outcomes. This means recognising that infrastructure is a means to an end - an enabler of everyday life - and is there to make a positive impact on people’s lives. We can no longer deliver just another new building or road. From the earliest stages of planning, we need to be thinking about how our infrastructure can create better results for every Londoner. ‘A City For All Londoners’ talks about ensuring planning isn’t myopically focused on one amenity without seeing the big picture – the only way we can do this is by being clear at the outset what outcomes we want to see at the end of a project, and planning our infrastructure so that we achieve all of those outcomes. 

For me, excellent infrastructure delivery isn’t just about completing a project on time and on budget – it’s about doing it right, doing it once and doing it smarter. We can’t do this in today’s world without a clear understanding of outcomes. For design and engineering consultancies, this means more collaboration, efficiency and disruptive thinking, and delivering on our promises. It means outcome focused delivery, enabled by technology and data. If we do this in a wholly integrated way - looking not just at a new station or housing development in isolation, but at placemaking, with all of the social infrastructure that creates thriving communities for people to work and live - then we can achieve the Mayor’s ambitions for London to be a growing, inclusive city.

Read Atkins’ full response to ‘A City For All Londoners’