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St James's

Public Realm Study

St James's

Public Realm Study

One of central London’s most historic districts, St James’s sits at the very heart of the capital. The area’s built heritage is unparalleled; a high proportion of its buildings are listed and it is additionally home to many of London’s longest standing institutions. However, in recent years the area has lost some of its former prominence. The quality of its streets, routes and public spaces no longer matches that of its architecture, and it has become overshadowed by neighbouring areas. With a number of new developments now emerging in the district, there is great potential to reconsider the character and quality of its built environment as a whole.

The Crown Estate commissioned Publica to produce a district-wide area analysis and public realm study for the St James’s area that could act a baseline to inform proposals for improving and upgrading its public realm. Publica’s work provided a detailed analysis of the area’s character and identified opportunities for improvements to routes, networks and public spaces.

Proposals include estate-wide strategies to improve the quality and function of streets and spaces for pedestrians, cyclists, local users, visitors and retailers as well as a series of site-specific projects. Key recommendations include recasting Waterloo Place as a great city square, creating a high-quality public space in the forecourt of St James’s Palace, reinvigorating the Duke of York Steps and improving the prominence and connections to St James’s historic shopping arcades.

  • Title: St James’s Public Realm Study
  • Location: City of Westminster, London
  • Year: 2013–2014
  • Client: The Crown Estate