Rethinking Bloomsbury Squares for the Knowledge Quarter

The Bloomsbury Squares are renowned worldwide for their rich architectural heritage, their association with the artistic ‘Bloomsbury Group’, and for creative, forward thinking individuals. They play a fundamental role in defining the character and identity of this popular district of London and provide an ideal environment for the growing Knowledge Quarter.

However, faced with increasing pressure on local government budgets, the London Borough of Camden needs to rethink its management approach for the Bloomsbury Squares to make sure that the quality of these can be maintained into the future. It is setting up a business partnership, the Bloomsbury Squared Parks Improvement District (PID), to promote and safeguard the Bloomsbury Squares as beautiful well cared for assets that contribute to the economic and social health of the area.

The Bloomsbury Squared PID will explore ways of generating revenue from the Squares, including the potential for a business levy where businesses vote to invest collectively in their environment, and/or for setting up a capital endowment fund for the Squares. This PID will be the first of its kind in the UK, and the Council is hoping that it will be a trailblazer for future similar initiatives.

Research shows that significant business benefits result from being located close to attractive well-maintained squares, including increased local footfall, amenity value for business visitors and employees, attraction and retention of quality staff, and increased property values. No one wants to return to the period pre-Millennium when the Squares were marred by antisocial behaviour and poor quality, and many were effectively ‘no go’ areas.

Shirley Blake, the Bloomsbury Squared Programme Manager, has highlighted the importance of local businesses becoming involved with this project. It is a chance for local businesses to have a greater say over what happens in their immediate environment, to ensure that the Squares enhance the area’s excellent business reputation and for businesses to be associated with the famous Bloomsbury branding. To find out more about becoming involved with this project contact Shirley at