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The River's edge - a missed opportunity

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Wednesday 23 June 2004 5.06pm
loafer Wrote:
> I think it is easy to forget how terrible the
> riverside was, and how hostile to residents and
> tourists alike.
> Whilst we may not like all of the changes, I
> think it has massively improved and I am happy to
> spend lots of time walking the riverfront with my
> family.

I completely agree, loafer. This article contains some very interesting descriptions of how the riverside used to be:

Wednesday 23 June 2004 5.43pm
I'd like to see better access to the foreshore - another boundary zone between land and water. Many of the old stairs and causeways have not been kept in good repair, and some of them are downright dangerous, disused, blocked off or no longer there.

The foreshore has been my 'park' for the years I have lived in SE1.
Wednesday 23 June 2004 7.03pm
So, back to the original thread.

If the river's edge (and the river) are a missed opportunity how could the opportunity be better taken?

One observation from other European cities with rivers - the Thames is at least twice as wide as any other river through a major European city (excepting Istambul). So it is possible that the width of the river is such that its scale, its size, makes it difficult to be used as a social area or artery.

So, how about creating London's own 'Ile de france', an island situated in the middle of the Thames whose purpose and intention is to function as a cultural lung and a bridge between north and south. The river divided and passing down each side could easily accomodate vessels currently using the Thames.

Maybe the Corp of London and boroughs bounding the Thames edge might consider revising planning policy to actively promote the use of the river's edge by working boats and/or residential vessels.


Niall Connolly

'propose rather than oppose'
Wednesday 23 June 2004 7.28pm
Unfortunately to propose its necessary to apposs

The Berkeley development should be stooped and a better use for the coach park an Oliypic cultural park

Then a floating garden the length of the south bank with, band stands and piano recitals ,and residential boats ,

If we get the 2012 Olympics Some of the office building by the river should be demolished to create a wider tree lined walk way .
Wednesday 23 June 2004 8.12pm
Sorry to be a bore, but what you mean is Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis. Ile de France is the province in which Paris is situated.

An island like that in the Thames would not be possible because you would obstruct the passing by of boats. The whole idea of such an island is that it should be easily accessible. The success of the two Parisian islands is that it is located very close to the riverbanks and as such is an integral part of the city whilst being unique in atmosphere. An island in the Thames would become too isolated from the rest of the city and then become artificial.

edited because of bad english

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 23 June 2004 8.13pm by maurits.
Wednesday 23 June 2004 8.21pm
If we built an island in the Thames, we might slow the current enough to allow the river to freeze in the winter. We could then see the return of the Frost Fairs.
Wednesday 23 June 2004 9.02pm
I quite like the Thames being water, thank-you very much.
Wednesday 23 June 2004 9.09pm

Not boring at all. Thank you for the accuracy.

Just some observations regarding the concept: the Thames is at least twice as wide as the Seine which would offer plenty of room for boats. The Paris template is a great place to start and, obviously, was the place that I started. It works wonderfully well in Paris so maybe it could work in London. The island (or islands) would be intended to bring the city together, a stepping stone across the river. London Bridge used to be a community, a village, a place of commerce, why not an island linked north and south drawing the city together?

Tharg - I'm not sure if the tidal flow would slow. I suspect that the Thames doesn't freeze because of the rising ambient temperature but it would be fantastic were it to freeze. The reduced widths would also make skating safer.

Mickey S - an island could accomodate many of the features you suggest and more besides.

If a tunnel can be drilled under the English Channel, surely an island could be built in the Thames.

Regards to all

Niall Connolly

'propose rather than oppose'
Wednesday 23 June 2004 9.29pm
The Thames doesn't freeze because the water flows too quickly, the old bridges slowed the flow sufficiently enough for this to happen, there is plenty of literature to support this hypothesis, obviously it's also dependant on temperature. The river didn't freeze every year "in the old days", and despite the warmer winters we are apparently now experiencing, there will always be a chance of a "freak" cold spell.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 23 June 2004 9.33pm by Tharg, drinker of Pervy.
Thursday 24 June 2004 7.07am
Niall, what I meant is that the bridges leading to the island would obstruct the botas form passing by.
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