The Anonymous Widower

Out Of Thin Air

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Could Building Above London’s Railways Solve The Capital’s Housing Crisis?.

This is said.

Around a quarter of a million homes could be built in London by developing above the capital’s railways, a new report has claimed.

A report published by engineering consultants WSP suggests that building apartments above open London Underground and Overground lines could provide much-needed housing capacity in the city.

WSP Global is one of the world’s leading consultancy companies, with probably their best known project in the UK, being The Shard.

They call the concept Rail Overbuild and the full report is at this document on the WSP web site.

This is a picture from the report.

The report is an informative read and the techniques don’t apply just to London, but could be used over many City Centre rail lines throughout the world.

One section of the report is entitled the Twelve Benefits of Rail Overbuild.

  1. Building over existing infrastructure requires no new land.
  2. Overbuilds in inner city locations are ideally located for residents: the ultra-close proximity to transport facilities provides greater mobility options and could tempt homeowners to either forego car ownership altogether or else reduce multi-car ownership, thereby increasing notional disposable income.
  3. Overbuilds can increase public transport ridership. In turn this will mean lower greenhouse gas emissions and require less carparking space.
  4. Rail overbuilds can better integrate a station into its surroundings; the station development becomes a connector within the urban realm. And by incorporating adjacent site development, rail overbuilds spread their communal benefit over a wider area.
  5. Mixed-use rail overbuild environments contribute to public safety, particularly for pedestrians, given they foster activities throughout the day and much of the evening.
  6. Rail overbuilds provide opportunities to create new pedestrian-friendly environments, creating social value and forming attractive places where people want to live.
  7. Rail overbuilds offer financial incentives for rail asset owners who may gain commercial benefit from the development and from which they
    can reinvest the proceeds into improving city infrastructure.
  8. Uplift can be created in the value of the  mmediate surrounding area and generate household and business rates, as well as other revenue for the local authority.
  9. Rail overbuild schemes can fulfil local authorities’ preference for higher densification and be used as tools of economic development.
  10. Provide a sustainable solution to urban development
  11.  In resolving rail-bridging issues – e.g. structural, acoustic, air quality, vibration,
    utilities, economy – the overbuild provides precedents for future developments.
  12. The station/transport hub becomes a destination in itself thanks to the resulting retail and commercial development in and around it.

They also give some substantial examples of where the proposed methods have been or will be used.

  • Earl’s Court Regeneration
  • Principal Place, Shoreditch
  • Royal Mint Gardens, Tower Hill
  • Stamford Bridge, Chelsea
  • Riverside, New York

This is said about the rebuilding of Stamford Bridge.

Rail overbuild doesn’t just have to facilitate housing. Chelsea Football Club’s proposed new stadium is a fine example of how a site constrained by adjacent rail lines can be successfully built over to maximise development potential.

I recommend that you read the WSP report.

Will the Government and the Mayor of London do what the report suggests?

November 2, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | ,

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