Boris on cable cars, Thames swimming, and urban reproduction


Boris Johnson

As many of you know, it is always a pleasure to have an eloquent and witty person like Boris Johnson around to cheer up an otherwise dull event. I’m not saying that MIPIM is dull, on the contrary, but many speeches and fora and similar sessions at the world’s premier real estate event for professionals tend to put the audience asleep. And that’s not only because of the tiring short nights at the French Rivièra and the necessary digestion of champagne-accompanied lunches at the Croissette…

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So, yes, an excellent choice to have Boris Johnson addressing the MIPIM crowd with a keynote speech on London city developments (for anyone who has been living under a rock for the past three years: Johnson is the current mayor of London). Apart from being funny and entertaining, Boris Johnson is running London with a clear vision and decisiveness to change the city for the better. London is preparing for the 2012 Olympic games and is using this event for city-wide improvement and urban development.

In the words of the Greater London Authority (GLA):

The Mayor is at the heart of changing London for the better. His work includes making it easier for people to move in and around the city, transforming open spaces into cleaner, calmer, greener places, tackling housing and health inequalities, giving young Londoners a better start in life, championing our city at home and abroad, and more.

All right, so much for the snoring marketing machine surrounding London’s extravagant lead vocal and let’s cut to the chase.

Some key elements in Boris’ keynote address:

– “I disagree with Gandhi. The future of the world does not lie in villages, but cities”;
– However: “we will put the villages back into the city”;
– The number one area for urban regeneration is the East of London, which will be a new district;
– London is creating one of Europes largest parks;
– ”…there had never been a‘better time to live in, and invest in London’;
– London will create more river crossings, including a tunnel, a bridge and an urban cable car (named after Vince Cable 😉 )
– However, you may also swim to cross the Thames, because the river has never been this clean;
– London also has the most electric cars than any other city;
– The city’s bicycle-hiring scheme is very successfull;
– London is one of the safest cities to live in, with crime and murder rates at historically low levels.

Well, listing these key takeaways comes at the risk of boredom again. Therefore, it is more interesting and vivid to watch Boris’ key note address at full length: