14TH ANNUAL SUSTAINABLE CITY AWARDS HIGHLIGHT IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT IN THE FORTUNES OF UK CITIES
For the last decade and a half the City of London Corporation’s annual Sustainable City Awards have tracked the most important and emerging themes in the area of sustainability. This year the overwhelming message from our winners is that the economic fortunes of UK cities depend on the quality of life they offer – particularly for generation Y. The winners at this year’s awards are fantastic examples of how environmental improvement and community engagement are essential, powerful tools to city regeneration.
There is more focus than ever on cities in the definition of global, economic supremacy. Cities across the world and within the UK are competing to attract the brightest and best talent and it is green space, clear air and well-being credentials that will achieve this – not company laws and tax regimes.
The big winners at the award ceremony at Mansion House last night were for projects focused on transforming areas in order for them to thrive. Argent LLP was selected as both the overall winner of the Sustainable City Awards and the Peter Parker Award for its role in the regeneration of the Kings Cross area, one of London’s most drastically improved places. Business Improvement District inmidtown was also recognised with a total of three awards for its pioneering transformation of the Holborn, Bloomsbury and St. Giles London districts. (See below for more information on these projects and those of all the winning organisations.)
The awards are open to organisations from across the UK however, with 85 per cent of this year’s entries coming from London organisations, it appears that London is leading the charge in creating a liveable city – a fact reflected in the capital’s astonishing economic growth rate – which at 4 per cent even rivals Hong Kong. This year’s data also reveals that SMEs are leading the sustainability revolution – with over half the awards being given to companies with fewer than 250 employees.
Simon Mills Head of Sustainable Development at the City of London Corporation commented; “The massive population growth we are currently seeing in cities, requires huge investment in infrastructure such as energy, water and healthcare. SMEs, especially those in the tech sector, are innovative and fleet of foot, so they are literally cleaning up. It’s a virtuous circle, the more that cities deliver on ‘resilience’, the greater the range of opportunities.”
The host of last night’s ceremony, Loyd Grossman (Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust) commented; “Sustainability of Cities is one of the major topics for our century as we become a more urbanised world. The awards do a great job in highlighting the different, creative ways in which issues of sustainability can be addressed and solved in the context of our urban lives. They also play a role in providing great sustainability examples, not just for us in the UK, but for those around the world. The City of London Corporation has taken leadership in this area by celebrating great examples of sustainability which fall outside of just the Square Mile.”