London needs to up its quality of life to compete internationally

 
Tracey Boles
Ranbow Over Tower Bridge
London has not made the top 25 of cities ranked in Monocle magazine's new Quality of Life listing for 2016 (Source: Getty)

Londoners interact with different elements of the city, and seemingly different centuries, on a daily basis.

On one hand, London is the tech capital of Europe.

Since 2010, the number of digital businesses in east London's Tech City alone has soared from 250 to over 3,000 according to Gerard Grech, chief exec of Tech City UK.

It's not just about Silicon Roundabout, however. A new report from Stack Overflow, an online community for developers, shows that while East London is home to an estimated 280,342 programmers, North London has 9,280, West London 22,409 and South London 13,620.

Read more: Let's make London the tech capital of the world

This week's London Technology Week is an opportunity for the capital to strut its stuff to international visitors.

Despite these cutting edge tech credentials, London has not made the top 25 of cities ranked in Monocle magazine's new Quality of Life listing for 2016. How come it fails to make the grade?

Tyler Brule from the magazine explains: “This year we have focused on the pleasures of being up all hours, noting the places that still serve a good meal after 22.00 and have transport that keeps going through the night.”

Cities were also graded on their public-transport networks, international connections, general safety and quality of architecture.

London's excessive cost of living remains the key reasons for its absence from the top 25. What's more, it has seen a dramatic fall in its number of nightclubs and live music venues as these spaces become targets for developers.

Read more: London "sophisticates" will dominate the Night Tube

As London comes of age as a global digital powerhouse, now is the time to future-proof the city and bring as much of it as possible into the 21st century, be that infrastructure or services – including at night.

The city's tech entrepreneurs have the digital skills to reimagine transport, housing and retail. But they are up against some antiquated infrastructure and decision making that can move like a nonagenarian on a bad day.

Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to appoint the capital's first chief digital officer. He is expected to select a night mayor too. The intentions are good, but he must demonstrate that these are more than just token appointments.

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