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Boris launches "Great Spaces" initiative

London mayor Boris Johnson is to plough £200,000 into “Great Spaces” in London this year to champion public spaces that currently have poor access, or are unwelcoming and unattractive.

Projects at any stage of their development can be submitted by London boroughs for assessment by the Mayor’s design panel, led by deputy mayor for planning and policy Simon Milton.

Successful projects will be adopted and accredited as a Mayor’s ‘Great Space’ and benefit from specialist advice from the London Development Agency’s Design for London.

Up to £200,000 has been set aside this year to enable Great Space projects to carry out feasibility or design work and to help in their promotion.

Mr Johnson said: “I am determined to do all I can to lead London through this recession and ensure it emerges stronger than ever. Key to that is improving our quality of life and environment, and it is the capital’s public spaces that make London such a wonderful, engaging city and help attract millions of visitors every year. But we need to take a closer look at some of the hidden treasures as well as the well known spaces that abound – spaces that are currently difficult to use and unwelcoming - and turn them into something great.

“London is still a top destination for tourists and for businesses setting up shop here and I want to improve on our already unrivalled offer. This scheme is about building on what is already good and encouraging new ideas to create even more great spaces across the city for everyone to enjoy.”

Deputy chair of theGreat Spaces panel Richard Rogers said:
“A way of measuring the quality of life in the city is by the design of its public spaces. These people’s places bring great vitality to a city. I believe that access to open space should be a public right.

“This is why the Mayor’s Great Spaces Initiative is so important. We need to get London’s pavements, squares and parks working for all. London has some wonderful public spaces but there is still much to be done.”