Hot 50: LONDON

In anticipation of the 2012 Olympic Games, a burst of activity is making its way across the capital. London has always had a confident list of attractions with its cultural heritage, iconic landmarks, vintage transport and fashion, but with a less clear sense of identity to hold all these aspects together, especially with the Olympics coming, it highlights a need for a defining brand.

While London Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured) and the Greater London Authority aim to build the city’s global presence through a rebrand, London is not shy of design projects. The London Design Festival continues to fly the flag for design working alongside the Victoria & Albert Museum. Innovative exhibitions were brought to life in 2009 – for example, Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project in Trafalgar Square. And though the weak pound is not helping the country’s economy, tourism is busier than ever as London becomes the European city to visit for a cheap mini getaway.

London should be celebrated for its quirky aspects. The fashion industry is thriving, with London Fashion Week, the funky Shoreditch quarter, and the sheer size of Westfield shopping centre in west London. Oxford Circus is also now firmly on the map with its new diagonal pedestrian crossing, part of a £5m project to pedestrianise parts of central London.

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