When I was fi rst told I was going to live in a high-rise block I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

(Interview, Corrine, Edrich House, 2005)

The residential high-rise has seen something of a renaissance in London of late amidst renewed interest in its potential for delivering a more sustainable form of urban living. Though eye-catching ‘blow-downs’ of system-built tower blocks still continue from time to time across London (Kerr, 2003; see fi gure 9.1), for the fi rst time in a generation, residential high-rises are being built. The return of the residential high-rise to London has been driven, in no small part, by Mayor Ken Livingstone (see McNeill, 2002a, and Charney, 2007, on Ken Livingstone and tall buildings). Drawing on the Urban Task Force report (DETR, 1999), Livingstone and his advisors believed that an increased density of new housing on a single footprint would contribute to environmental sustainability by increasing energy effi ciency and public transit use, and – when combined with mixed-use and mixed-tenure developments – contribute to the social regeneration of inner-city sites. In the absence of many taxation or regulatory powers, the mayor sought to drive London’s regeneration forward by exploiting his authority over planning and development control (McNeill, 2002b). By the time the London Plan was formally approved in 2004, Livingstone and his offi cers were not simply promoting but indeed actively pushing local boroughs to accept high-rise residential buildings as one of the centrepieces of London’s ‘sustainable’ brownfi eld regeneration policy.