Heart of London Business Alliance
Westminster City Council
Plan Projects was appointed by the Heart of London Business Alliance to produce an Events Strategy for Leicester Square (ESLS). The Square reopened in May 2012 following a major redesign by landscape architects Burns + Nice. The strategy will provide the partners with a means of conceiving, organising, monitoring and managing events in the Square consistent with its status as one of the West End’s key civic spaces.
Leicester Square delivers a number of functions: a venue for high profile film events, a thriving evening economy, a key link between Piccadilly and Covent Garden. In addition, it works at three levels within its urban context: firstly at a local level, providing the neighbourhood’s growing residential population with a key area of public open space, secondly, within the Mayor’s London Plan as key leisure and recreation destination within the city’s ‘Central Activities Zone.’ It also has a role to play in the ‘complex urban whole’ of the wider city, not least because of its global reputation.
Our advice to the client identified a number of key themes the strategy should address if it is to support these functions and help secure the Square’s long term success.
- Helping attracting a broader range of people into the Square
- Helping cultivate core civic values of basic respect for others and a willingness to embrace new ideas and experiences
- Adopting an experiential approach by combining the activity of multiple players within a framework governed by excellence and consistency with Westminster City Council’s approach to placemaking
- Seeking to reconcile the programme of major events with regular smaller scale, locally conceived events to optimise economic impact
- Use of the strategy to support strategic positioning decisions
- Making use of digital technology to deliver adaptability and initiate co-production models, and
- Treating the ESLS as a tool for holistic and sustainable urban renewal addressing the key elements of sustainability: economy, social life and environmental quality.
Plan Projects was initially commissioned to identify criteria which could be used as a way of assessing different kinds of cultural activity in the Square. Their commission was then extended to deliver this initial study; it has provided us with an essential foundation on which to develop our dialogue with Westminster City Council and our business members’