4 January 2016
At a Cross Roads
by David Michon
How do you transform an area that was once a byword for the seamier side of urban life without tearing its heart out? In redesigning Londonâs Kingâs Cross, developer Argent thinks it has found the answer.
London is a city that is dogged by bad developments. Many are vying for âiconicâ status while others simply rehash an insipid, cookie-cutter form of âluxuryâ. In such a city Kingâs Cross offers a unique opportunity. It is one of the biggest urban-regeneration projects in the UK capital, sitting on the 27 hectares that lie to the north of Kingâs Cross and St Pancras International railway stations.
The former industrial area had become derelict and was known for prostitution and drug dealing when work began in 2008. Eight years later, itâs expected that about 30,000 people will come to Kingâs Cross every day this year to work and play â this while the project is still four years off completion. With two thirds of the construction time elapsed, itâs an apt moment to assess the successes â and potential pitfalls â of the development.
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