Consensus Views of Imaginary Places

I was staring at London’s skyline I was staring at Miniland London’s skyline in the Legoland park the other day and something started to bug me. Who decides which buildings get in?

Literally some cities from across Europe are presented in glorious plastic blocks in Legoland, with a mish-mash of places you’ll know and places you won’t. Loch Ness makes it, as does a place once known as Britain’s smallest pub, and there’s a terrific Angel of The North in there too.

But London’s the place most familiar to me, and seeing St. Paul’s, Nelson’s Column, and 1 Canary Wharf butted up within a few feet of one another is pretty entertaining. It totally skews the city geography, warping the river and flipping the buildings into unrecognisable configurations – all of which is only right and proper – and the buildings themselves are magnificently constructed. But who has the final say on what gets in?

City Hall made it, and I don’t know many people who know what it is or what it looks like; two cinemas on Leicester Square make it, but neither are the Odeon; when did The Gherkin get the go-ahead?

There’s a wonderful bit in a dream-like sequence in Phonogram where a character moves from Bristol to Camden in a flash because he hasn’t really got a sense of the places in-between, and these mini-cities sort of feel like that… consensus views of imaginary places. But they aren’t wholly imaginary because people have to plan and build huge structures out of tiny bricks.

So who fills in the gaps, and what’s the approval process? Is this space waiting for a Shard, or is it too soon for that to be part of the imagined London? Is it just making space for an errant Burj Khalifa? I’m going to ask some people and see where it goes, so if anyone knows anyone that could help do give me a shout.