New London Architect (NLA) launched its latest annual tall buildings report: ‘London’s Growing Up: A Decade of Building Tall’, sponsored by Multiplex and Hayes Davidson, researched and written by Denise Chevin MBE. As London’s skyline continues to evolve, the report delves into the trends, challenges, and impact of vertical growth over the past decade – with data obtained from The Planning London Datahub, Greater London Authority and CT Group.

 Key statistics

Over the past 10 years of buildings over 20 storeys, we’ve seen:

  • 270 tall buildings have been completed
  • The tall buildings delivered average 29 storeys
  • 58,000 homes have been delivered, delivering only a tenth of the London Plan’s target of 52,000 per year
  • The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has built the most tall buildings with 71 developments

The report marks ten years since NLA’s first tall buildings report ‘London’s Growing Up!’ was published. A decade on, the 2024 report offers a meticulous analysis of the transformative effect of tall buildings and the role they will play in London’s future. Through a combination of data driven insights and expert commentary, ‘London’s Growing Up! A Decade of Building Tall’ examines the evolution of tall buildings in the capital.

In 2014 NLA’s first survey identified that over 236 tall buildings over 20 storeys were in the pipeline of future development. Between 2013 and 2023, 270 tall buildings have been completed, including 121 buildings or structures that were at least 100 metres tall in the Greater London metropolitan area, with a further 583 tall buildings queuing up in the pipeline across many of the 47 Opportunity Areas. The report finds that growth has been fuelled by burgeoning demand for office and residential space, overseas investment, and a supportive planning environment, which have now begun to plateau due to increased construction costs.

 Other key takeaways

  • Demand for Grade A offices continues to drive a ‘greener’ and smarter generation of mixed-use tall buildings, particularly in the City of London which in November 2023 announced that planning applications submitted and approved had risen by a quarter year on year.
  • For residential towers, the momentum has slowed; the fall in the housing market, higher interest rates and high construction costs have dampened demand and viability. But the need for student accommodation is driving demand for tall buildings.
  • Housing densities have increased in the past 10 years – with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets increasing from around 1,000 habitable rooms per hectare to between 4,000 and 5,000 rooms per hectare.
  • Tall buildings have contributed to the densification of London, but leading observers say there needs to be consideration in terms of optimising sites in a way they can give back to local communities. Towers must bring social value and social inclusivity into tall buildings.
  • Debate over the sustainability of towers is likely to intensify as Tall buildings face criticism of the carbon footprint from embodied carbon in their heavier structures – though engineers are optimising the use of materials.
  • Proponents of tall buildings say that sustainability must be considered in the round – tall buildings near transport hubs enable more people to travel by public transport and reduce transport emissions and offer more efficient use of land and resources. Tall buildings with shared plant and machinery should bring economies of scale.
  • We are likely to see more reuse of buildings, and towers will need to be designed to be more adaptable to future uses, which could necessitate a change to leasehold arrangements.

The report includes visuals that demonstrate the past, present and future skyline of the City Cluster, Croydon, Canary Wharf, Southwark and Vauxhall, generated by Hayes Davidson.

CT Group conducted a survey into Londoners’ views on tall buildings in the capital, with a comparison to our original 2014 results. With the balanced results, we’re seeing a similar public opinion on tall buildings despite the growth in towers.

  • The Shard is now Londoner’s favourite tall building, compared to the Gherkin in 2014.
  • 37% of Londoner’s would be happy to live in a tall building, compared to 27% in 2014.
  • 50% of Londoner’s believe there are too many tall buildings in London, up from 32% in 2014.
  • 43% agree that tall buildings have made London look better, compared to 46% in 2014.

This report is a valuable and the only resource for policymakers, architects, developers, and anyone with an interest in London’s development to obtain information on the development of London’s tall buildings, delivered by the only organisation bringing together the built environment community. Featuring insights, a project showcase, and exclusive viewpoints from industry leaders such as: Jo Bacon, Partner, Allies and Morrison, Tom Nancollas, Assistant Director (Design), City of London, Callum Tuckett, Managing Director, Multiplex and more.

 Catherine Staniland, Director, NLA: “Over the last decade, NLA’s annual London Tall Buildings Survey has been at the forefront of debates on London’s future skyline, providing visibility to the public, professionals, and policy makers on the future pipeline, and helping to shape new thinking on how tall buildings can contribute most positively to their surroundings. While we’re now seeing a slowdown in momentum for residential towers, over the next 10 years, tall buildings will continue to play an important role in the capital and we are likely to see a much greater focus on sustainable construction, adaptive reuse and public accessibility.”

 Peter Murray OBE, Co-Founder, NLA: “Tall buildings have changed the face of London substantially over the last 20 years and will continue to do so – the pipeline that NLA has tracked means there is at least ten years’ supply that has already been defined. London’s population continues to grow, passing the 10 million mark at the end of this decade. We still need tall buildings and NLA will continue to keep a close watch on what’s going on.”

To read the report in full visit: