Design vital to capital, says Smith

Culture Secretary Chris Smith has urged London’s design community to take a lead role in initiatives to improve life in the capital.

Central to his plea is the impending formation of the Greater London Assembly. “Involvement in advising in (the GLA’s) strategic planning is very important,” he says.

Smith also points to the new proactive body planned by the Government as “a champion for architecture” to replace the Royal Fine Art Commission, and the annual 5bn Government spend on buildings, as areas in which creative industries could take an advisory role.

Smith told architects and key design players, at a meeting at the Design Council last week, hosted by Central London Partnership, that if design is well managed and understood it can improve communications and the working environment. “Good design principles ought to influence everything companies do,” he said.

Defining the creative industries “in the broadest sense”, to include fashion and performance arts as well as design, Smith says London companies account for 60bn of the national economy and earn 8bn from exports. The creative industries could increase their current growth rate of 5 per cent, he says.

CLP, an association of London companies aiming to make the capital a better place to work and live, called the meeting to inform architects and designers of its activities.

According to CLP chairman Sir John Egan, who is also chairman of airports authority BAA, the creative industries make London a “creative capital”.

Latest articles