I’ve worked in King’s Cross for ten years and in that time it’s undergone an impressive transformation: major new transport links at St Pancras and King’s Cross, the opening of Central Saint Martin’s and pop-up activities like KERB food market. By 2020 up to 50,000 people will be studying, living and working in King’s Cross and the population of Camden is expected to increase by 8% by 2023.
We have one of the leading clusters of research and innovation-based organisations in the world in King’s Cross, Euston Road and Bloomsbury – universities, science institutions, companies and start-ups. Two years ago, we started to think about how these organisations could be brought together under the banner of the ‘Knowledge Quarter’. There are lots of cultural quarters, but knowledge quarters are harder to find. The closest examples are the Science Parks in the US or Education City in Qatar.
Setting up the Knowledge Quarter has taken 24 months of discussion and consultation. The goal is to raise the profile of the area, both for visitors and government. We want to attract more knowledge-based businesses to stimulate economic growth (it also helps that we’re next door to ‘Silicon Roundabout’).
So which institutions are included? You can see the full list on the KQ website which includes the British Library, British Museum, Central Saint Martins, the Guardian, Royal College of Physicians, The Francis Crick Institute, UCL and the Wellcome Trust, to name a few.
The Knowledge Quarter is governed by a Board of nine from different sectors to oversee direction, strategy and finance. It is backed up by a Steering Group of 35 organisations to advise the board and ensure that everyone is represented. Over the next year they’ll be addressing things like TfL’s cycling superhighway consultation, Wi-Fi coverage and apprenticeship schemes in Camden. And as you’d expect, the project is not without its challenges (all of which the Board and Group are addressing) like ensuring real social and economic change, finding adequate resource and backing.
It’s been an exciting few months for the Quarter – a new Project Manager, an official launch at the British Library in December, a new website and communications. You can find out what’s going on via Twitter at @KQ_London.
This article was written by Fran Taylor, Marketing Manager at the British Library