Heading back to White City

We look back on five years' work in London’s White City, where the next chapter is just beginning.

It’s currently a beautiful week in London and spring has truly sprung around me. The days are getting longer, cherry trees are blooming, the sun is shining and we’re finally allowed to leave our houses. It’s time to go and re-discover London, so what better place to start than with White City, an area that we’ve been closely involved with over the past five years? 

In 2016 we were invited by developer Stanhope to bring together different partners in the area and build a story around the many amazing things taking place there. By doing so we wanted to build its profile as a centre for technology and creativity. Returning there now, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the progress that’s been made in realising this. With new facilities, occupiers and a thriving university campus, White City is becoming established as a major technology and academic centre for London. We can’t claim credit for the huge projects being undertaken, but we are proud to have played a role in these early stages of bringing together a like minded community that has gone from strength to strength.

When we started in 2016, White City was an area set apart. Public perceptions centred on the BBC, Westfield, or nothing at all. With the redevelopment of multiple sites by Stanhope, and the arrival of Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, there was a huge amount of energy to be harnessed. We were determined to do it in a way that would benefit the growing local community and build long lasting connections between new and established neighbours. 

Rather than starting with masterplans and big place strategies, we began by listening and collecting stories on the ground. We worked with the White City Residents Associations and the Royal College of Art to create the first comprehensive map of the White City area and a free newspaper that promoted local events and hosted local stories. It evolved into an online platform called White Noise, that over the course of the next three years brought together local talent with internationally recognised journalists and creatives. By creating an open platform and telling unexpected stories we gathered a like-minded community and built connections between every corner of the area and took it out into the world. 

As you walk around White City now a lot has moved on. Venues that hosted temporary exhibitions have been replaced by more permanent structures. The Television Centre at which we commissioned a demolition event and hoisted a grand piano above is now complete and fully occupied. Construction continues on a number of new major projects, and overall it’s still quiet with many fewer people working in the office spaces than before. As it moves on to a new chapter and begins to fill again with life, we can’t wait to see how the story develops.

“Something More Near played a key role in shaping perceptions with multiple audiences around the redevelopment of White City. Their hands on approach fostered great partnerships and connections that brought multiple benefits for us and other players in the area”
David Camp – CEO, Stanhope