Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council

Making Islington’s neighbourhoods liveable for all

Islington Council Leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz explains how the council is working with local people to build better streets and communities together. 

Creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough is a key part of our vision for Islington, and we've been working on exactly that.

There is a public health crisis in London – toxic air quality, inactivity and poor mental health are all affecting local people. And we know we need to take action to tackle these issues.  

Here in Islington, we believe our streets aren’t just routes from A to B. For us, they’re community spaces, that people of all ages and backgrounds should be able to enjoy using.

We’re currently in the process of transforming the borough’s streets to achieve that. Already, we’ve seen the huge benefits of our seven low-traffic neighbourhoods, our 35 School Streets, and our work to improve Islington’s pavements. 

Now, we want even more people to benefit from greener, healthier streets. Local people know their community best and that’s why we’re working with local people in a new and different way to build better streets and communities together.  

The Mildmay Liveable Neighbourhood will be the first of its kind in our borough – looking at streets as community spaces for people of all ages and backgrounds to use, and enjoy using. It’s about reimagining streets, so that all can experience from a range of health and wellbeing benefits.  

We’ve listened to hundreds of people’s ideas and suggestions and have put forward proposals to reflect what they need and want.

Local people, businesses, and groups told us they wanted to see more child-friendly streets, so we’re proposing major improvements at Newington Green, St Jude & St Paul’s, and the Children’s House schools.      

They also told us they wanted more accessible routes for mobility-impaired people in the Mayville Estate, so we’ve proposed improvements to pavements in the area.  

We also heard how local people wanted to see improved air quality and less traffic in the area, so we’re proposed traffic filters to reduce traffic on residential roads, and improved cycle routes to encourage more active travel.

This is just the start – we’re working with communities to create liveable neighbourhoods across Islington. 

Liveable neighbourhoods are the evolution of low traffic neighbourhoods, they make it easier for all to walk, cycle, and wheel, they improve air quality, and they boost safety.  

But they'll also go further than that. They’ll help strengthen communities, create more attractive streets, and will make it easier for people to make use of their fantastic local businesses.  

Within each neighbourhood, we’ll work with communities to understand the changes that they want to see – whether it’s turning car parking spaces into new pocket parks, creating new spaces for children to play, or creating better routes to local shops.

By creating more welcoming, safer spaces, we can support children to get their recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day in a safe, healthier area, which helps support their development and aids their concentration in school. By lowering pollution from cars, liveable neighbourhoods can also reduce the risk of a range of illnesses and diseases associated with air pollution.  

This is a journey that we’re taking with you. Each liveable neighbourhood will be unique to the community that it serves and will be shaped by your ideas and local insight.

This article first appeared in the Islington Gazette on 12 October, 2023

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