Roger Madelin in Conversation with Ricky Burdett at the LSE, London

Roger Madelin, formerly of Argent, and now Head of the Canada Water development for British Land, gave a fascinating account of the delivery of the King’s Cross site. At 67 acres, it is the biggest development site in London for 168 years and includes 500,000ft2 of commercial space, 1,800 homes, 250 businesses and 250 retail units.

What was really interesting was that play was at the heart of the development concept “ for children and young people. He said entertainment and cultural events are equally important in making a place that people want to go to, even if they do not live or work there.” This is how they attracted Central Saint Martins art and design college and Google. As he says, people go to where other people are.

Notwithstanding the huge amount of work and costs involved in delivering a development of this scale, it is really good to see the importance put on integrating culture, homes and business.

I remember visiting the area in 1992-3 as my thesis, an open access recording and music studio, was sited just north of St Pancras Station “the transformation into a safe and fun place to be was long overdue”.

That they are doing this with integrated housing – whether social, shared equity, special needs, elderly and private, which is at the heart of the Mix ethos – is to be applauded.

Planning, Politics and City Making: A Case Study of King’s Cross by Peter Bishop and Lesley Williams – available on line and at bookshops