This town is big enough for the both of us

Independent newspaper, UK

I am standing at the junction of two of the busiest streets in central London – High Holborn and Shaftesbury Avenue. In one direction is Centre Point and the start of Oxford Street; in another Leicester Square; to the south-east is Covent Garden; behind me is Bloomsbury and the giant hulk of the British Museum. It’s quite a vista. But my view only lasts for eight seconds before the little green man turns red and a herd of black cabs rev their engines.

Pointing down the streets and cursing the crossing barriers that pen in tourists and office workers is Tim Stonor, managing director of Space Syntax, a UCL-affiliated consultancy whose job it is to understand how humans move within spaces like these. They have analysed people flow within the British Museum and helped Norman Foster redesign Trafalgar Square.

London is – when compared to car-heavy cities such as Los Angeles – quite easy to navigate on foot. But all too often roads are designed for cars – pedestrians are plodding afterthoughts.

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