Here's an inspiring example of how non-governmental organizations can get things done in a city. Instead of waiting years for the city to update a derelict neighborhood, IKEA recently purchased over 1.1 million square feet of land (26 acres) in East London, with the intention to not only develop the area, but also to create a new and improved neighborhood. The project is Strand East.
The plan for Strand East is to completely transform the neglected area into a vibrant community made to live, work and play. It's an ambitious project created with the users in mind. This goes way beyond building and selling real estate.
This is what the area looked like before they got their hands on it.
This is what they are planning to do with the land.
This is an example of how quickly things can get done. The project is already underway with the tower and the first restaurant currently under construction. The restaurant is set to open in July of this year. There are a lot of interesting features they plan to add to this new neighborhood that many other cities can learn from, including Ottawa. Things like water taxis. Imagine water taxis on the ottawa river during the summer.
What I like the most about their vision (aside from the fact that things are getting done) is that they are making their concept centered around the community, the people that will actually use the space. Check out the little presentation video below about what makes a place a great place. This is what we should keep in mind when developing the city.
If I could, I would emulate what IKEA is doing here, in certain areas of the city, starting with the Sparks Street!