'Challenge' was the word most used by Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor at the Greater London Authority, as he launched Green Sky Thinking this week at the top of City Hall.

'Challenge' was the word most used by Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor at the Greater London Authority, as he launched Green Sky Thinking this week at the top of City Hall.

On a sunny morning the views were magnificent, a reminder of what a wonderful city this is, and how beautiful it can be. This is a photo I took before going in:

This is not irrelevant, since one of the points that Edward Lister made was that people invest in London because they like to live there, and they live there because it is a green city with a pleasant way of life.

He was talking about the London Infrastructure Plan 2050, and what is needed to maintain and enhance the capital's properties. He used the word 'challenge' a lot, because so much of what we take for granted is wearing out and our needs are growing with a population that has surpassed its last peak 80-odd years ago and is continuing to grow. Our Victorian sewer system, designed for 2 million people not 8 million, is creaking, and so is our electricity supply. Not to mention the problems of waste and housing...

The answers may not all be right, but at least they are being addressed. The most outspoken member of the panel discussion afterwards was Jo Negrini from the London Borough of Croydon. She was utterly dismissive of the government pledging £7 million of infrastructure funding when what is needed is closer to a billion, describing it as like being asked 'what can you do with a fiver?'. But she explained the borough is not just sitting and complaining. It is setting up its own development company for social housing, and its own funding arm. In this way, she said, it wil be able to plough back the 20% developer's profit and spend it on more investment.

That's London really. Full of 'challenges' and problems, perennially short of cash (despite being home to so many rich people), dirty and messy and hugely stimulating and exciting. We may have many historic buildings, but the nature of the city is constantly mutating. And in the end its strength comes from its people, with their multiple talents and ideas, brought from all over the world. Did I mention that Jo Negrini is originally Australian? Makes sense.

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