Neighbourhoods /


The viaducts within the neighbourhood connect some of central London's Opportunity and Intensification Areas — from Waterloo and VNEB (Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea) in the west, to London Bridge to the east, and from Blackfriars to Elephant and Castle to the south. Over the decades, the walking route alongside the railway arches has become blocked through planned and unplanned development of walls, fences and buildings. The Low Line will reinstate this important link across Bankside by bringing forward commercial development and promoting exemplar models of usage.

It will connect communities and places, providing a framework around which people, culture and business can thrive. The Low Line is at the heart of the Bankside neighbourhood, celebrating the heritage of Bankside's legacy of Victorian engineering and reinforcing Bankside's special character. The project is not just about creating a walking route, it is about shaping places of interest along the way and redefining this unique infrastructure, providing residents, local workers and visitors to Bankside with a different way to experience the neighbourhood and the surrounding areas in south London.

Bankside itself is undergoing major change, and rather than being the barrier to movement that they have been in the past, the heritage, character and structure of the viaducts can now be harnessed to reveal and link the neighbourhood, to create a valuable addition to the public realm as well as bring new commercial and employment opportunities to the neighbourhood.

The viaducts nod to Bankside's industrious past, and continue to support its commercial role, bringing thousands of workers and visitors to the neighbourhood daily. The current accessibility along the viaduct in Bankside weaves its way between Blackfriars Road and Borough High Street, some stretches, including Borough Market, Flat Iron Square and Union Yard Arches, are established connections, while other stretches are quietly waiting to be stitched into the emerging Low Line route.

As the meeting point for both north-south and east-west routes alongside the viaducts, Bankside will be a hub for the developing Low Line. The delivery of this new high-quality walking connection will help to accommodate the growing resident, worker and visitor numbers and the additional footfall they will bring to the neighbourhood. The realisation of the Low Line in Bankside will therefore help to support and make more attractive, the intensification of uses, especially at the intersection of the two routes where pressure on the public realm will be greatest.

© Royal Institute of British Architects 2019