Peter Murray, New London Architecture
From a workplace perspective, what is the biggest threat to London?
I think the cost of housing and the difficulty in getting staff in London are huge threats that we all know about. Also, the search for wellbeing in London is also a key issue. Not only is wellbeing specifically key to the design of offices, we’re now in a situation where around 1,000 people a year are dying prematurely from the quality of the air in London. Oxford Street has some of the worst air anywhere in Europe. Compared to many places in the world, we perform very badly.
‘We also don’t get enough exercise. I’m a great supporter of the idea of active travel – so you coordinate walking and cycling with public transport rather than having everyone get in their cars. It’s essential that we encourage this in the workplace. We need to bring together health and the design of workplaces. One of the key things is to design offices with staircases that people can find and use. They changed the building regulations in New York so that if you go into a new office building you can see an access on the first three or four flights.