Property Club Series: The London Collective


The London Collective was launched right here at Home Grown in November 2019

As Founder Max Farrell puts it “At that time, we had about 100 people downstairs at HG club and we presented ourselves as a virtual network of built environment experts and creatives who are all connected via Microsoft Teams, at the time that seemed very novel and little did we know that the entire world within about two months,  would be doing exactly the same thing!

Pippa W invited the LDC to talk to our Home Grown members through their initiative; #ParkPower and how it has been navigating and continue their mission during the pandemic.

Max Farrell: “One thing that we all became very aware of, during the pandemic, was that the people’s perception of the value of Parks had changed dramatically, but at the same time, it’s also increased the problems that parks and park owners are facing with much higher usage, for example, the demands from different types of users whether that’s cyclists or social events or, even people using trees as gyms equipment. Some of the big issues around with this new high-density amount of people are litter and toilets and also safety

** #ParkPower, a four-month-long initiative to explore public sentiment around London parks revealed its findings, alongside a portfolio of recommendations for futureproofing parks as vital parts of our city.

The first phase of the project revealed the four key recommendation areas for those who own, manage and design urban parks:

  • Community cohesion: create spaces to enable joint creativity, incidental meeting, arts and music, and local identity-building
  • Protect and increase natural capital: support wildlife, improve biodiversity, rethink plant palettes, experiment with food growing
  • Improve accessibility, mobility and connectedness: start a green link network, reprioritise pedestrians and people with disabilities
  • Embed technology that enables: capture the right data to inform decisions, build digital platforms to enhance park use, install smart lighting, bins and gates, retrofit green tech to generate energy.

** Source

A key takeaway from this innovative talk was Max’s recommendations for leading collaboratively.

Leading collaboratively is key because town centres and high streets are the work of many hands, and it has to be public-private partnerships that really listen to the voice to local people, but, but each plays their part in collaboration and capitalises on all these new government initiatives and funding that is out there to improve the experiences of high streets and introduce new housing.

Also try to bring back each town’s identity, which I think has somehow gotten lost along the way and. And every time does have an identity and it just needs to be revealed and understood better.

We have this programme of urban rooms where people can go and empty shops in high streets and see models and exhibitions about the past, the present and the future I think that’s really important.

After Max’s wonderful presentation, Pippa and our members went on to a Q&A, here’s one of our favourites from the day;

Pippa: “Anyone who knows me will know I’m completely property obsessed hence running this series with Home Grown, but in particular at the moment I’m working on a project, and we’re looking at invigorating town centres and shopping centres and how that works. 

I think one of the challenges that we’ve come across is, is that fundamentally consumers have become quite lazy, and everyone uses the likes of Amazon to order their goods from a service that mostly arrives on our doorstep! 

What it is that you envisage now in terms of servicing the landlords of these high streets, how do you see that working?” 

Max: “I think it’s about changing the mindset .because people have this idea of the ‘15 minute city’, which is people needing to, and wanting, to have everything they need within 15 minutes of walking out the door, which is really interesting and arguably quite a good thing for the renascence of town centres.

It’s city centres that really need to direct the event themselves and I was talking just earlier this week with the adjacent Terell who’s the Chief Executive, the New West End Company and it’s amazing how they’re having to think radically different about the types of occupiers that are coming in to potentially take over from the Debenhams and the Top Shops. 

There’s certainly that dichotomy between landlords who want secure anchor premium tenants. And actually, what drives people to the high streets, and into the towns. There is a bit of friction between the two.

You can watch the full conversation here.

Meet Pippa:

Managing Director – PiggyBack Property

Pippa started her career as a funds lawyer in a global City law firm and has continued to focus on the property and private equity sectors throughout her career. Pippa established a number of traditional property funds, across both commercial and residential sectors before concentrating her efforts on innovation in the housing sector including property crowdfunding and Build to Rent. 

Meet Max:

Founder, LDN Collective
Max is the Founder & CEO of the London Collective, a network of built environment experts and creatives fighting to improve people’s lives and the planet’s prospects. They are a radical and agile ‘one-stop shop’ for projects anywhere in the world. Max’s expertise lies in placemaking and communications. He was a Partner at Farrells for 10 years, the internationally renowned architects with offices in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai, before leaving to set up the London Collective in 2019.  He is currently leading on the vision and masterplan for a new town in Oxfordshire with 6,500 homes and a national centre of excellence for Modern Methods of Construction, on behalf of Summix Capital.

© Home Grown Club

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