WHAT ARE WE COLLECTING & WHY?
As well as asking for help in developing our open building attribute database, we are also interested in your views on whether you think particular buildings work well, and are good for the city.
In this category we ask two main questions. 'Do you like the building and think it contributes to the city as a whole?' and 'Do you think the building
contributes to the local area?'
The first question, phrased as 'Like me?', is asked to build up a general picture of the type of buildings considered to work well, and to see whether these might have common characteristics across cities and countries. You can 'Like' as many buildings as you want but you only have one vote per building.
The more 'Likes' there are, the deeper the colour will get. Dislikes are not collected a) to prevent malicious use of the platform, b) to promote constructive discussion, and c) as patterns of less popular buildings typologies are likely to be able inferred over time, through absence of likes, providing that sufficiently large amounts of data are collected. The question is also designed to encourage as diverse an audience as possible to join in.
Our second question relates to non-residential buildings only and asks 'Do you think the building contributes to the local area?' This could be a shop, cafe, library, pub, community hall, youth centre, place of worship, or any building you think acts as a community hub or benefits the local area in any way. We are also using this section to track the loss of community assets over time and to allow for more detailed analysis on the socio-economic impacts of demolition and repurposing. The category also supports the Greater London Authority's objective, set out in the London Plan, to deliver growth in local areas 'in a way that strengthens what is valued in a place'.
Though poor physical condition is often used to justify the demolition of buildings, research has shown that the lifespan of a building rarely relates to its age and that there little evidence to suggest that well built, maintained and repairable traditionally built buildings cannot last many hundreds of years. In fact it is the 'value' placed on a building by society that largely determines how long a building will survive. This may be for example current monetary value, historic value, or potential socio-economic value. In cities such as London, owing to the cost of land, one of the greatest threats to a building comes when it stops delivering the highest value for the land on which it is built. Ideas of 'value' affects every aspect of a building's lifecycle, from its initial design, to regularity of repair, to its adaptation and reuse, and decision to protect it from demolition. To create more sustainable, efficient, and resilient cities we need to reassess the way we measure 'value', while at the same time identifying and retaining and reusing well-built, adaptable and repairable buildings wherever we can.
During the 1960s and 1970s many of London's most iconic and economically successful areas, including Covent Garden, Whitehall and Bloomsbury were proposed for demolition (digital reconstructions of planned replacements can be accessed here). In many cases these areas were saved owing to campaigns led by community/civic groups - supported by conservation specialists and societies and the local and national press - able to see their long-term potential value. 'Like me?' along with our 'Demolition' category is also designed to help community groups publicly record buildings they predict to be of future socio-cultural and/or economic value.
Colouring London is an open data platform and we can only accept data from unrestricted sources. Just use first-hand knowledge of the building wherever possible, or check your source is open and free for third party use.