#VillageLondon is a concept increasingly close to my heart and hopefully something that will resonate with all Londoners. It might sound like a contradiction; how a city as vast as London can conceivably be referred to as a 'village', but the theory is a sound one. We are rapidly realising that our beautiful capital is a wonderfully varied tapestry woven together by a plethora of quirky individuals and gloriously varied businesses that brings a sense of community to London. All of whom deserve to be championed.
The idea is simple; that London is essentially an amalgamation of a series of small communities and areas, villages if you will, that unite to form a whole. These nooks and crannies of our fair city all have their own sense of identity and their own character. London is one of the most popular and vibrant cities in the world. It's crammed full of a variety of cultures and inhabitants; a veritable melting-pot where no two areas are the same. I sometimes think this sense of community and the individuality of London's boroughs is forgotten by the industry in which we work. The pound speaks loudest approach means that the process of selling property becomes a sterile and soulless process which forsakes the character of an area. A swift transaction that does not take into account what makes each area special is one I am very keen to steer well clear of. Certainly many of London's boroughs can be viewed as similar and having things in common but a closer inspection of the individuals and the businesses that flourish in these areas, illustrates why London remains one of the world's most desirable cities to live and work in.
I recently encountered a couple who are looking to move from central London to slightly further afield in order to expand their living space. They cited a host of different areas; Peckham, Streatham, Hounslow, Ham and Ealing which illustrated to me that London has a little bit of something for everyone. More pertinently it showed to me that whilst travel networks and house prices play a fundamental role in determining one's choices, the unique character of each area is just as important.
Cherish our capital's nuances
What a privilege it is to live in a city that offers such variety and character and I believe it is our responsibility to ensure these entities remain a focal point of local communities. It is, after all, their approach and respective ethos' that encourage people to live here in the first place. The #VillageLondon project has allowed us to engage with these individuals behind the varied businesses all over the capital. Businesses that are challenging the conventional by bringing a unique and independent alternative to the high street. People that enliven London and its various boroughs by not conforming to the norm. Businesses like The Gipsy Hill Brewing Company, near Crystal Palace, that make delicious craft beers which are nothing like the white label beers churned out in the supermarket. Independent offerings like Cloud 9 Cycles in Bloomsbury who treat bicycles as artisan equipment, beautifully and lovingly tailored to the individual. Or a new company called Quodo, who are encouraging Londoners to express their inner artist by having creative types; from bakers, chefs, painters and more, to teach us their craft on a personal and immersive level. What a wonderful way to broaden the horizon of busy Londoners.
All of the businesses we have spoken to are bringing a sense of their character to the areas they are operating from but are doing so by respecting the traditions established before them. It is something I am very eager to celebrate and to ensure that we are not depersonalising London. As Estate Agents, online or offline, our industry have a duty of care, not just to those who are trying to move into an area, but to those who are already living there. #VillageLondon is a celebration of London's nuanced personalities and it is something that I am becoming more and more familiar with and proud of.