Funded by the RIBA Research Fund in 2017, 100 Mile City is a speculative proposal made in the context of the current housing crisis in London. Furthermore, it is a necessary and provocative response to the Adam Smith Institute’s 2016 paper which insisted that “London’s Green Belt must be built on to curtail the housing crisis”.
The project currently takes the form of a plaster model and drawings by Peter Barber Architects and an essay film by director Grant Gee, entitled ‘The True History of the Hundred Mile City’. It proposes that we build a street-based linear city, 100 miles long, 200 metres wide and four storeys high. Wrap it round London. Give it little factories, schools, houses and shops laid out in terraces along intimately-scaled streets and around squares. Make it a dense, intense edge to London – a confident purposeful boundary fronting a revitalised productive countryside.
Rather than building out into the Green Belt why not build inwards?
Gee’s film takes this question and proceeds as a lightly ironic, archaeological field trip into the past of the 100 Mile City. What was once there? What did prospective inhabitants want? What administrative and logistical problems had to be overcome?
‘The True History of the 100 Mile City’ will be screened in full, followed by a panel discussion exploring the practicality of this proposal in response to London’s housing crisis. The evening will conclude with an audience Q&A.
The panel comprises:
- Pooja Agrawal; Principal Project Officer, Greater London Authority and co-founder of Public Practice (Chair)
- Peter Barber; Director, Peter Barber Architects
- Grant Gee; Film maker, photographer and cinematographer
- Murray Fraser; Professor of Architecture and Global Culture and Vice-Dean of Research, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
- Ellie Cosgrave; Director, UCL STEaPP City Leadership Lab and Lecturer in Urban Innovation and Policy, UCL