Honor Chapman died suddenly in late August 2009 on her farm in Somerset. Her loss, at just 67, was felt hard by her many friends in the property industry, especially in London.
At a packed memorial service that Autumn discussions began about how to mark her incredible contribution. Over time the five core sponsors of this report - Great Portland Estates plc, Grosvenor, Jones Lang LaSalle, Land Securities and the London Communications Agency - came together to discuss various ideas.
One that resonated for all of us was the opportunity to take a good look at the state of London. In 1994 Honor was the founding CEO of Think London (then called London First Centre (LFC), and now part of London & Partners), the inward investment agency for the capital. She also served on the board of the London Development Agency and advised a wide range of developers on their London portfolios and projects. London (and cities more generally) was one of her great passions.
2011 happened to be the 20th anniversary of the publication of London: World City Moving into the 21st Century (hereafter London: World City), a seminal report by the London Planning and Advisory Committee (LPAC) which for the first time ever benchmarked London against its major competitors.
One of the main recommendations in that report was the need for London to promote itself more effectively, especially for inward investment. It was Honor who then led the detailed research into this idea in her role as Head of Research at Jones Lang Wootton. As a result of this, LFC was launched in early 1994 from the 6th floor of Jones Lang Wootton’s Hanover Square offices with the backing of London First, the government, and local authorities.
The concept of reviewing London: World City, 20 years later, and assessing how London has fared since then, took hold. The sponsors approached Greg Clark, a leading city expert and Honor’s former colleague at the LDA, and he agreed to carry out a review.
This report is the culmination of his work over the last six months. In addition, he has not only reviewed London: World City, noting where it was both visionary and perceptive, but also interviewed around 100 leading thinkers about the future of cities into the second decade of the 21st century. His analysis, commentary and recommendations make interesting and important reading for all of us who care about our capital city. As we are about to elect a new Mayor of London and London is about to host the greatest sporting event in the world, the timing of this report is significant and, we hope, welcome.
We all trust that if Honor were here today, she would have read the final draft of this report, made some pertinent comments with her famous red pen, looked over her glasses and said “not bad at all”. We also trust that the Honor Chapman Report on London has an impact on the future of London, much like London: World City did 20 years ago.
Our thanks to Greg Clark and his team, to all those who have given their time to be interviewed and to the organisations who helped shape the discussions.