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If you are looking for examples of avant garde town planning in the 1960s and 1970s, the City of London does not immediately spring to mind. But the City’s ‘Pedways’ are such an example.
It all began in the 1960s with London Wall, the short stretch of dual carriageway on the northern edge of the City. A strategic route, it required approval from the modernist town planners at the GLC and incorporated current thinking on the separation of vehicles and pedestrians at different levels. Next came the Barbican Estate, a comprehensive redevelopment of an area devastated by bombing. Similar ideas were incorporated.
Then, in a development which still surprises, the planners of the City Corporation decided to spread the principle of vertical segregation of pedestrians and vehicles throughout the City, and so the ‘pedways’, or pedestrian ways, were born. There were to be some 30 miles of these ‘streets in the sky’. Many sections were built, but the planned network was never completed. The plan was dropped in the late 1970s. The sections which were built are now fast disappearing as the City continues its endless process of change.
Peter Hayes leads this fascinating tour which will explore the history of this adventure in urban planning and visit some of the pieces of pedway which still survive.
Mortimer Wheeler House
46 Eagle Wharf Road
London N1 7ED
020 7253 9400