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London shows it is not a Mediterranean city

London, and other cities, have made great advances in the design of public space, as the 10th anniversary exhibition at the NLA ‘Public London’ demonstrates.

London, and other cities, have made great advances in the design of public space, as the 10th anniversary exhibition at the NLA ‘Public London’ demonstrates. But we should remember that, however good our design, it can’t overcome the British weather. Look at these people listening to Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland’s minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht.

See how cold they look? That is because they are. This was the launch of the London Festival of Architecture (Deenihan is there because of the Irish pavilions, one of which you can see in the background). The launch was held in Lewis Cubitt Square, the latest public space in the King’s Cross development. You can understand the thinking – a balmy summer evening, drinks and food and an Irish singer. It should have been lovely but the weather was brutal and the square, although elegantly designed, turned out to be a wind tunnel.

Yes, London should celebrate its outdoor spaces and enjoy them when appropriate. But it also needs a plan B – and one which is under cover. And not just in winter.

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