Ros Morgan is Chief Executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance. In this essay, Ros explores this year's theme of 'power'.
Ros Morgan with John McElgunn from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners under the LFA 2019 ‘Boundaries’ installation on Piccadilly, St James’s.
The word power has a few meanings. Yet underscoring all of them is a sense of motion, a sense that things are moving in a certain direction and that, ultimately, a change is taking place.
The point about power, therefore, does not lie in its possession but in what it achieves.
For me, power must always be used to effect positive change. On an individual level, this means how we can inspire and empower one another and, on a professional level, it means the ways in which we can lead by example and instil a sense of purpose throughout our organisations.
Being at the helm of a business improvement district (BID), purpose and generating benefits for our members run through everything we do. We undertake activities to enhance the commercial wellbeing of the area, which means viewing it comprehensively and then bringing members together to participate, engage and bring about change.
Most recently, we have been pushing for positive change to our public realm. We know that London, as well as cities across the UK and the rest of the world, are facing a variety of challenges. From the pressures of a rapidly changing climate and an increasingly urbanised population through to the issues our historical infrastructure and buildings present, we must respond in a way that future-proofs our cities.
This means making our streets and public spaces powerful in and of themselves. We need them to be places that don’t just prevent these challenges from worsening, but to be places that actively promote the solutions. Whether that’s through design that manages traffic to reduce emissions, better wayfinding to promote sustainable transport or places that foster health and wellbeing, we need to be harnessing the full power of our public realm.
After all, power is about making things happen and that is exactly what we do as a BID.