Dave Hill | The Guardian: Regeneration – or pushing out the poor? Labour divides in bitter housing battle

The fierce opposition to Haringey council’s regeneration deal goes to the heart of a national debate – and tests Corbyn’s party

Big city redevelopments often divide opinion. But few have done so in such a fierce and symbolic way – or been watched as closely by other communities grappling with housing shortages and gentrification – as the plans put forward by one London council to rejuvenate some of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The north London borough of Haringey’s is planning to form a joint venture company with an international property developer, and commit tens of millions of pounds’ worth of its land and buildings – including a housing estate close to Tottenham Hotspur football club, and its own civic centre – to a massive transformation programme. This has opened a new frontier in the already fraught debate about the capital’s regeneration, and sharpened divisions in local Labour politics that mirror the wider struggles over what the party should stand for.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn’s bold pledges will halt social cleansing of estates | Dawn Foster

Related: A Labour council attacking its own people? This is regeneration gone bad | Aditya Chakrabortty

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: ‘Filthy glamour’: could polluted Marylebone Road help fix London’s air?

Marylebone Road has the odd distinction of being the world’s most studied road in terms of air pollution – yet remains a chief culprit in London’s ‘shameful’ air quality. Now it’s home to a series of new experiments

Daybreak in the capital and on the pavement opposite Great Portland Street underground station runners cut virtuous paths through a crisp, cold winter’s morning. To one side of them lies Regent’s Park, deep green beneath a perfect frost. On the other roars a source of contamination so severe that the health of these runners might have been better served staying indoors.

Marylebone Road, one of London’s main east-west streets, illustrates with filthy glamour why the city suffers from stubbornly poor air quality – with recent record-breaking pollution levels having caused particular concern.

Marylebone Road … was like a canary, tweeting away that something was going wrong

I tell the kids to ​do the same and​ hold their breath if they’re walking past a bus exhaust

Related: Breathe less … or ban cars: cities have radically different responses to pollution

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: London must remain open to the world

The capital should have its own migration system to help it to help Britain survive leaving the EU

There are always exceptions. Since the nation voted to leave the European Union, the mayor of its capital city, Sadiq Khan, has declared that “London Is Open”, but he wouldn’t mind it being closed to Donald Trump. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners sympathise, judging by the map of signatories of the petition to stop the US president paying a state visit and making life difficult for the Queen.

This isn’t typical behaviour. In general, the capital welcomes foreigners, including those who, unlike Trump, plan to stick around and do something useful. Around two million of the city’s work force of five million were born overseas, of which at least half come from elsewhere in the EU. London-haters find this frightening, a foretaste of foreignness eating the green and pleasant land. They hope that Brexit will stem the alien tide, buttressing a fading Britannia of yore. They may not have yet grasped how damaging for them a cut in incomers from overseas could be.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: High density London: past, present and future

Large numbers of people living on small amounts of land is neither wholly alien to the capital’s traditions nor a sign of social deprivation

High and rising population density is routinely associated with poverty and squalor and the miseries of distant shanty towns. When, in early 2015, the number of people living in Greater London officially surpassed its previous all time high of 8.6 million, reached just before the war, not everyone interpreted it as a sign of the capital’s economic vigour, cultural magnetism and attractions as a place to have children. The prospect of it topping 10 million before too long fills some with dark visions of overcrowding and disease.

They shouldn’t be too alarmed. There are still fewer Inner Londoners than there were in 1939 and London remains one of the world’s least dense big cities in population terms. Residents of the highest density areas do not seem to regard it as a major factor in their quality of life, according to a 2005 London School of Economics report. This is reassuring given that new housing developments are likely to need to be increasingly compact if housing supply is to come anywhere near meeting demand, thanks to the limited supply of land.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Garden Bridge: don’t bank on it not being built

The mayor’s stance on the controversial Thames crossing project and the optimism of those behind it show that predictions of its demise may prove premature

Enemies of the Garden Bridge, potentially the most permanent of Boris Johnson’s mayoral follies, have been encouraged by the trust responsible for building it saying in its latest annual report that it is “unable to conclude” that the project “is a going concern”. Its tardily released accounts for the year ending 31 March 2016 show that it needs to raise a further £56m to hit its target of £185m. On Wednesday, Johnson’s successor Sadiq Khan reaffirmed to the London Assembly that his support for the bridge is subject to “no new public funds being required.” Meanwhile, Dame Margaret Hodge MP is working on a review, commissioned by Khan, “to look in detail at the procurement process around the project”.

So what are the chances of the bridge being built? Recognising that its future is at risk, the trust’s chair Lord Mervyn Davies concedes that unless rights to the necessary land on both sides of the Thames are secured and the further private funding raised, trustees “will need to consider further delay to the project, and in a worst case scenario, whether the project remains viable”. Yet pre-construction work has already been done, using the £60m received from the Department for Transport and Transport for London (of which £20m is being treated as a repayable TfL loan). Davies states that “our funding pipeline is strong” and that he “looks forward to starting construction in 2017”. In a letter to the Financial Times last October, he said he expected to “make major announcements involving international companies soon”.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: The long war of mini-Holland in Enfield

Disputes about the installation of cycle lanes on main roads through a north London suburb continue to rage

The best way to understand a vast metropolis is to explore it on foot, which is why I walked three southbound miles along the gently curving A105 from Enfield Town to Palmers Green during the morning travel peak. It is one of a matrix of main roads linking a constellation of small town centres in this part of suburban north London. Its route passes a weave of residential streets, the “set back” frontages of large interwar homes and intermittent parades of shops. There is a flow of motor vehicles, sometimes smooth, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. The carriageway is broad. It is also a bit of a battleground.

The root of the hostilities can be traced to March 2014, when Labour-run Enfield Council secured around £30m from Transport for London (TfL) to make the borough more conducive to cycling. Its bid for a big piece of Boris Johnson’s “mini-Holland” fund, created to encourage bicycle travel in Outer London, was distinctive for its emphasis on installing dedicated bike lanes on those very Enfield roads currently dominated by cars. The council’s plans, augmented with further funds, aren’t all about these segregated tracks – there will also be investment in quieter cycling routes. But, as Councillor Daniel Anderson, cabinet member for environment, puts it: “We don’t want to push cyclists down side streets. We need cycling to become a genuine direct alternative for making trips across the borough.”

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Transforming Tottenham: a short film about change in London

A part of the capital best known for football and riots is undergoing a major metamorphosis, driven by its local authority. What are its aims and how do local people feel about it?

Tottenham has much to recommend it but also some stubborn problems, including a lingering reputation, vastly unfair on most of its people, for violent disorder and crime. What is the best way for its Labour-run local authority to change what is bad without losing what is good? How can it effect change when its powers and budgets are increasingly limited by central government? How do local people feel about their plans? I spent some time in the area last week with student film maker Max Curwen-Bingley, gathering a range of insights and views. We hope you find them enlightening. The film is 11-and-a-half-minutes long.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Transport for London explains plans to get buses back on right road

Leaders of the mayor’s transport team say they can liberate a key public transport service from costly road traffic congestion

How do you make more money out of a public transport service that people have begun using less while not putting up fares? This conundrum was explored during Wednesday’s meeting of the London Assembly budget and performance committee, which probed Transport for London’s budget for 2017-18. The service in question was the bus service, which has lately seen a fall in passenger numbers following many years of vigorous growth. Intelligent probes were launched. Interesting responses ensued.

The basic problem is worsening congestion, which has been slowing the time bus journeys take and putting people off using them. That is a bad thing because when buses move freely and reliably they convey large numbers of people very efficiently and bring in large amounts of money that TfL badly needs, especially when its reliance on income from fares is increasing. At the same time, London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to freeze TfL fares for four years and introduced a new bus fare, the hopper, which enables two different buses to be taken for the price of one within a 60 minute period. This is already causing TfL to forego revenue it would otherwise have gathered.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: The cave of wonders that is Travel in London report number nine

Transport for London’s latest annual orgy of statistical delights tells of ongoing successes and growing challenges with keeping the capital moving

Don’t get too excited by recent “news” that Sadiq Khan is buying no more New Routemaster buses for London’s fleet. After all, he first informed the world that he has dumped the “Boris Bus” near the end of May last year, confirming a manifesto promise he had made loud and often during the mayoral election campaign. Don’t expect them to disappear any time soon, either. Of more topical interest is which London public transport fares have not risen in the New Year and which have, a matter for further coverage later this week when the mayor’s budgets come under London Assembly scrutiny. But surpassing even this is for sheer excitement is Transport for London’s ninth annual Travel in London report, 250 pages of fascinating facts that weren’t published eight months ago. Let’s luxuriate in just a few.

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: London must stand together in 2017 if its golden age is not to end

The capital’s politicians and other influential groups need unanimity of purpose if the city is to keep prospering in the year of uncertainties ahead

For three decades, with barely a blip, the UK capital has been going from strength to strength. Nothing has stunted its potency and growth, not the 7/7 bombings or the 2011 riots, not Black Monday or the 2008 global crash, not even the original Millennium Dome. Its economy drives and subsidises the rest of the country, its still-new tier of regional government – the mayoralty and the Greater London Authority (GLA) – has been a success and it has hosted a triumphant Olympic Games. Its population, after shrinking through years of managed decline, is now at an all-time high, and may hit 10 million by 2030. But London enters 2017 with a question mark after its name. Might its golden age be coming to an end?

After the fireworks, the New Year begins amid unaccustomed unease. The heavy, grey cloud above is Brexit, with major employers in an international city whose wealth has been built on financial services pondering their options for the future. Meanwhile, austerity, albeit moderated by Miliband-ish measures from Theresa May, continues to erode from below. It doesn’t lighten the general mood that armed police officers have become a routine feature of everyday London life. In all these circumstances optimism is essential, but staving off its opposite will require fortitude and skill.

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