Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Scoop on London

Second day in London and I'm spinning around like a kid in a candy store. Every time I visit London, something new pops up. Like many great cities, London is a cosmopolitan city with many districts. This time, I'm in the South Bank, across the Thames from the London Tower.
The new London City Hall is located here, next to the Tower Bridge. Before arriving at London, I've heard criticisms and complains about the building and thought I should check it out. From an architectural point of view, the building itself is not bad and like the Gherkin, I think Londoners nicknamed it the Beehive. But aside from that, the complains were the high budget cost for the building and the prime location of it that could be developed for something else to generate revenue for the city; part of which I may agree upon, because it is afterall a public amenity and the cost do come out from the taxpayers' pockets at the end of the day. 
However, in comparison to Boston City Hall plaza, the programs here are very similar, mostly commercial and government offices, but it is a much better place in terms of its scale and the environment. There are water features, a green park, restaurants, and fantastic views to London Tower and Tower Bridge, which makes it a highly popular tourist spot. Because it is so new, (there are also other new construction close by), time will tell if the building and space will have any great effect to the city of London. But so far, I think it is a great add on to the surrounding neighborhood.
- Update: Apparently, the area that the London City Hall is sitting on is privately owned and managed. On that note, why is City Hall not sitting on a public lot? Why the need to buy a private lot? Also, we're living in a world where most daily tasks can be done online, is there a need to go visit City Hall? Who goes to a city hall and why? And probably the biggest question is, who does a better job in maintaining the public's comfort and security? Public or private? 

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