Friday 9 February 2007 1.06pm
To add to what I said earlier: I'm slightly concerned by the economic optimism that informs so many of these projects. Remember the early history of Canary Wharf? It's all seen as a big success story now, but it was a white elephant for a long time - built in the flush of boomtime, then underoccupied when the recession hit.
Where are we right now in the economic cycle? What happens if there's an economic downturn before these new structures are completed? Clearly the construction of these buildings supports the economy, but I just wonder whether they are a fit response to London's housing and commercial needs, or whether they are a belated attempt to assert London's status as a "global city". This status is something that is self-evident already, and I think that some of these buildings threaten to make London more like other large cities rather than more individual and attractive. The Shard
may be innovative and distinctive, but some of the other structures that are under construction or have been proposed don't seem to contribute anything positive to London's cultural identity, and their medium-to-long-term economic contribution is open to question too.