The future of the suburbs
Matt Cooke, BBC London
A new exhibition exploring how the 'suburban ring encircling London' is changing opens this week. It'll look at how Croydon, Walthamstow and Woolwich are investing billions in their local town centre's
For some the word 'suburb' conjures up images of The Good Life's Margot and Jerry - living in their leafy avenue, whilst commuting into the city.
But, a new exhibition claims the reality of living outside central London is a very different experience indeed.
Extra 800,000 people
Some 4.1m people live in the capitals outer boroughs, that's more than half the entire population of the city.
Image of development in Woolwich
Many still do commute, but 42% of the capital's jobs are based in the outer London boroughs.
Over the next eight years its predicted an extra 800,000 people will live in London - making development of the suburbs a key focus for coping with the growth of the city.
Peter Murray is the director of the exhibition 'Shaping the polycentric city.' He said: "not everyone wants to live in high-rise apartments. Suburbs have had a bad press because they are seen to consume land at a selfish rate and create huge areas of sprawl."
He continued: "there is a different model where suburban developments are focused around public transport hubs as well as having local jobs and shops. This arrangement can provide the amenities of the suburb as well as the efficiencies of city centre life."
A proposal image of Croydon Gateway
Plans to reinvigorate the suburbs have been underway for some time, but there are fears some of the recent economic troubles could affect big redevelopment plans in places like Croydon, Woolwich and Ealing.
The exhibition will examine Boris Johnson's commitment to the suburbs, with a focus on the suburban towns of Barking, Bromley, Greenwich, Hammersmith, Hounslow and Ilford.
Other big topics up for discussion include the role of Crossrail, the 2012 Olympics and Croydon's ambitious Vision 2020 plan - which include proposals for 2,500 new homes and a landmark skyscraper.
last updated: 22/09/2008 at 14:04