re-design of Parliament Square and the above satellite image (courtesy of Google) reminded me of its natural use. It is a great place for political demonstrations. The photograph is probably of the 2010 Peace Camp but might also be the 2009 demo against the final assault on the Tamil Tigers. Boris Johnson wants to pedestrianise Parliament Square. I support the idea, and would like to see this part of London become a ‘ten times’ congestion charge zone. But what does Boris think a pedestrianised Parliament Square would be used for? Happy voters massing to express their gratitude at the wisdom of their elected representatives? No Boris. It would become a world centre for political protests AND QUITE RIGHT TOO. MPs come here to Westminster to express their views. Let us welcome the peoples of every nation to do likewise, conditional upon the demonstrators being well-behaved. The people of Zimbabwe set an excellent precedent for how to behave with their regular weekend protests in the Strand and, when visiting the RIBA Library, I have often been inspired by the serenity of the Falun Gong protest in Portland Place. Falun Gong also use Trafalgar Square.There are many proposals for the
What alternitive functions might go towards a design brief for the re-design of Parliament Square: five star outdoor eating? a rose garden? the best fountain in London? a biodiversity garden? a carousel? a street market for pre-owned souveniers? a city farm? a waste-recycling facility? an outdoor art gallery? the best-kept lawn in Europe? floral bedding? a facility for the homeless? a collection of memorial sculptures? a permanent memorial to Brian Haw? Very obviously, the social role of Parliament Square must be considered before it can be re-designed.