On the evening of 14 November, Lord Adonis, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission and King’s Visiting Professor, delivered his inaugural lecture as Visiting Professor at King’s to a packed Strand Group event at the Guildhall in the City of London. The lecture, entitled ‘Never forget – Rome fell: What London needs to do to remain the world’s greatest city’, argued strongly that ‘less London does not mean more Liverpool’, and that, ‘on the contrary, the prosperity of London breeds the prosperity of Liverpool.’
After describing King’s College London as ‘a powerful force for social and civic progress in this city’, and praising the Strand Group for ‘building a British version of the Kennedy School of Government on the banks of the Thames’, Lord Adonis also used the occasion to unveil a new planning concept for the UK which he called the ‘Golden Arrow’.
This ‘big, bold Gladstonian prospectus’ is based on connecting together a ‘Golden Arrow’ of the UK’s five biggest cities, plus its two foremost centres of research and learning (London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Oxford and Cambridge) with high speed rail and improved local connectivity.
In front an audience of London politicians, civil servants, journalists, business people and academics, Adonis demonstrated that, unlike most other major countries in the world, Britain’s five largest metropolitan areas are extremely close together, if properly connected could form one great ‘single super-networked metropolitan economic zone driving the whole British economy forward.’