The reinvented color of London urbanism

In a walk across a world city, a city that works, experience is framed by very simple things–color and light and the ambient sounds of people and place–and a feeling that somehow public and private spaces are interacting seamlessly, safely and with mutual respect.

Despite the flat overcast light, London this week showed brightness beyond memories of the industrial age. Amid cars and buses and bluster and irregular wear on ornamental facades from long ago, there was vibrancy and clues of reinvention–exemplified by brighter colors, bike sharing, classic urban green and safe spaces, and resplendent sidewalk banter and life.

Perhaps it was imagination, or application of some sort of urbanist filter not present in youth, but storefronts seemed less like gateways and doors less like barriers, sidewalks more like living rooms and neighborhoods more surrounding of public squares, transit stops and car-dodging splendor.

Even if only a hopeful snippet of impressions ripe for realpolitik exception and detraction–for a few hours in late September, from Covent Garden to Neal’s Yard to Piccadilly to Regent Street, from Hyde Park to Knightsbridge and Chelsea and back–it was a movie-like stroll–all about the most famous of urban places becoming new again.

For a full screen slideshow of the merger of history and future, and/or to see more detailed images, click below.

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