London Survey 2015 – the results

Thank you to all who took part in our Annual London Survey in November.

More than 4,000 Londoners took the time to share their views on what makes London a great place to live, and which aspects of life in the capital could do with some improvement. This blog sums up the headline results, but you can view all of the results over on the London Datastore too.

London: a unique city

Despite clear concerns about house prices and issues like air quality and traffic congestion, the survey shows that London continues to deliver as an attractive place for people to live and work. Satisfaction with the city as a whole and with local areas remains at around three-quarters.

The survey results show that the high levels of satisfaction with the city is driven by London’s attractive, well-designed public realm (43% satisfied), its unique and famous visual identity (57% satisfied), the vast range of opportunities to experience the best of culture and sport (73% satisfied), and fast connections of the world-class transport networks (52% satisfied).  It is these aspects of the city that create an extraordinary experience for residents – these are the things make London a unique destination for leisure and work.

In our quest to address problem areas, such as the availability of housing, it is clear that we must not overlook these things that make London such an appealing place to live.

Recognisable challenges

Housing, the environment and urban development are central to life in cities and make up the realities of everyday life for people. Despite overall satisfaction with life in the capital being high, these are the areas which residents clearly identify as areas for improvement.  The highest level of dissatisfaction is seen with housing, with 76% of Londoners dissatisfied and only 8% satisfied with the housing offer. In particular, Londoners are worried about the affordability and availability of housing for rent and purchase (9% and 8% satisfied respectively).

While people are more positive about the environment and the built environment, the survey identifies certain issues that Londoners think are important priorities to address, in particular, air quality (57% dissatisfied), making sure that new developments meet the needs of London’s existing residents (41% dissatisfied) and that infrastructure has the capacity to support development (43% dissatisfied). These issues were also cited in participants’ responses to the worst thing about life in London and the biggest challenge for London going into the future.  

Future priorities

Presently, levels of satisfaction with London and its localities are high, principally because many Londoners enjoy and take advantage of the extra-ordinary, unique-to-London elements of life they can access.  It is clear that people remain anxious about housing.  The Mayor has taken steps to stimulate house building, setting an objective of building 49,000 new homes a year, and the flagship Housing Zones programmes in partnership with London boroughs will accelerate house building and help more Londoners into home ownership.  Over 99% of the developable public land transferred to the Mayor’s ownership in 2012 has been released for development - and we are on course to meet his target of 100,000 affordable home completions by 2016.  

Housing in London will need our continued attention.  We need to deliver homes and communities that meet the needs of residents, while providing the space for culture and business to flourish, and building on London’s unique identity. 

The London Survey is just a starting point and has raised fresh questions as well as giving us new insights.  We’d love to know what you think about these results, and what we should do to address some of the points you raised.  We’ve started discussions across the site to keep the conversation going with you.  Please feel free to start your own too.

13th Jan 2016
1 year ago (12:32 PM)


E17 Pioneer

With our NO2 levels being worse than Beijing's poor air quality is a major issue. TFL are doing some great work in regards to encouraging cycling, including building better infrastructure however they need to change the bus stock from polluting diesel over to electric.

Good point, but TFL outsourced their bus fleet to companies who only think of the quick buck and therefore oftentimes provide Londoners with unacceptable, unreliable, filthy and polluting bus service. RATP on their 33 line for example behave as if customer satisfaction is secondary to anything else. I hope it's not and that for the next tender TFL look more carefully what companies are there in the race to care for the environment and us customers.


Stagecoach have come up with a brilliant idea to reduce emissions from their bus fleet, they just cancel half their services.


There are already several electric single deckers in operation and electric double deckers are currently bring trialled, and the number of hybrid buses is increasing with all zone 1 bus route contracts calling for hybrid buses. It would be nice if all routes were converted to hybrid buses or electric but the truth is that buying new buses for every route is expensive, and hybrid buses are more expensive than diesels. When you take TfL's budget cuts into consideration, there isn't really anything else they can do.


The Mayor's office should be lobbying central government with respect to the levels of Stamp Duty in London - that London's houses are disproportionately more expensive than other areas of the country (e.g. Birmingham, Manchester) that will undoubtedly create stickiness in the market for most purchasers. Whilst I agree with the provincial view that there's nothing overtly "special" about London that it needs special treatment, there are undoubtedly distortive unique-to-London challenges that pervade the economy that do need to be addressed.

Terry Vaughan

Maybe 52% are satisfied with the 'world class transport networks', but I'm certainly not. As someone who would like to cycle instead of using a car, I find the roads are generally not fit for purpose. As a pedestrian, I object to the way that motor vehicles are always prioritized over people walking. It's no wonder that 57% are dissatisfied with air quality.

I agree. It's inconceivable how a society in a developed country puts a child into lethal danger from turning cars.


I agree wholeheartedly. Why roads should be continuous and pavements intermittent baffles me. Surely the system was originally based on the difficulty of stopping a horse. Why should cars be accorded the same privilege? How about switching a few to give priority to pedestrians?


This country has a huge obesity issue with a key part of the solution being getting people outside. It does not make sense that we then poison them with air pollution, especially small children that are more vulnerable. We must think and act in an integrated way.

Judy Ling Wong CBE
Chair Sowing the Seeds Network

Seddiki Sidi Fawzi

Boris Johnson

Our Dearest Mayor of London
You are the Best ever
Our city is flourishing
Under your right governance
We are proud of you
Of your good work
We admire very much
Your handsome person
Your genius inspiration
Your creative innovation
And your strong personality
It is an honour for us to have you
May God the Benevolent bless our
Queen Her Majesty Elizabeth II
The Royal Family
And the British People as a whole. Amen.

Majde and Lyathe Seddiki


So the survey reveals what we already know, living in London is becoming increasingly impossible due to crippling housing costs which is being fuelled by a booming population, and total failure by central and local government. Unless something is done to reduce the booming population, building 49,000 new homes a year is not going to be enough to cover the new residents let alone those who are already living in squalid cramped overcrowded overpriced conditions.

Eric G

There's clearly something very odd about this survey. Nationally, immigration is the main concern, this survey doesn't even mention it. It actually boasts about cultural diversity. No doubt part of London revels in cultural diversity, part of it however doesn't. The suspicious looking juggling of the figures because the demography of the respondents was 'wrong' looks very suspicious to me. It's also rich that the demographic segment which did respond claimed the highest level of dissatisfaction with housing, yet there's no concern or mention of the immigration which is largely responsible for it! I'm also puzzled that a survey with 4000 respondents, from a population of 10,000,000 seems to expected to deliver any meaningful results. Looks to me like this survey's been conducted and jiggled to suit a pre-decided agenda.


Well most of us are fully aware of the root cause of the problems with housing, employment, transport, schools, hospitals in London, unfortunately as immigrants now make up the majority of the population in London I can't really see that much will be done about it. Anybody who voted for the Tony Blair government is ultimately responsible for the mess that London is now in due to Labours open door policy on immigration.


I quite agree- immigration was also my major concern. not even mentioned.
another major concern- on the horizon, is TFL taking over all the rail transport in the London area - the company seems to be hell-bent on having as many passengers as possible, sideways seated in its trains.
"Are you sitting comfortably ?" NO- we are not !- not if you are a cervical spondulosis sufferer !

Talk London

Hi Eric G,

Providing we have a well-balanced sample of respondents, we are able to draw conclusions about the views of the whole population. This is how pollsters are able to say what a national population thinks about an issue based on just 1,000 interviews. This is why we ask people to provide demographic information when they complete the survey.  The results are based on interviews around 4000 London residents. We made sure that we obtained a minimum number of responses for demographic groups, and then weighted the data by age, gender and ethnicity in order to understand the views of the London population. You can read more about the survey methodology here.

Hope this is helpful.

Talk London Team 

Eric G

Hmmm, you would say that, wouldn't you? If your methodology is valid, how do you explain the fact that the consistent national number one concern, in virtually all opinion polls, is immigration, yet it's not even mentioned in your poll which you claim to represent 10,000,000 people? (That's roughly one in six of the UK population). I don't recall the specifics of the survey, please explain what information you obtained about my demographic group, not necessarily the detail, but in terms of demographic categories.

Eric G

Hi Talk London Team, do you have an answer to the issue I raised, that is that your survey doesn't even mention the issue which most national surveys show as a top priority concern, that is immigration?

Talk London

Hi Eric G,

The London Survey is run annually to help direct City Hall work and resources. As immigration is determined by national policy, it isn't covered by our survey.

As an aside, however, whilst population growth in the city (which of course is about more than immigration) was raised as a concern in the open text boxes at the end of the survey, diversity and mulit-culturalism were equally raised as some of the best things about London.

On your question about results for your demographic group, we're happy to email you directly about this. We keep members' personal details private, as per our privacy policy below. We're about to publish a full London Survey methodology paper over on the London Datastore also.

Hope this is helpful,

Talk London Team


Thank God we will see the back of Bozo in May. He has singlehandedly screwed London over in a way even Red Ken could not. Pollution levels higher than when he entered office, caused by ludicrous traffic policies. Traffic at a virtual standstill, caused by ludicrous traffic policies. LU drivers holding Londoners to ransom, caused by a ludicrous, ill thought out & consulted travel policy. Failure to use London's best & virtually unused travel artery the River Thames. The man is hopeless unless its a self promotion opportunity! Labour`s candidate is not fit for purpose, Goldsmith does not really have a track record in anything & the rest do not inspire me either. Please can we have a `Not fit for purpose` box on our voting slips? It was once said `Dont vote, it only encourages them` At the time it was meant to be a joke. Now the `Politicians`are making sure the joke is on us!!!!


Ah - but at least Johnston won his election as a honest conservative politician !
don't ever forget - Livingston was elected as a independent candidate - once elected he reverted to his labour roots
I still feel that there should have been a new election - still - that's labour for you !


We need more communication with London on what steps and timetable is being done on air quality. Both air quality and traffic congestion are raised here as issues - both are linked and need to be handled as one problem. The people are asking for improvements - but what is the "roadmap" (excuse the pun) for making substantial improvements in this space quickly?

Talk London

Thanks all for your comments so far. We certainly want to keep the discussion going with you and, looking at what you’ve posted above, have some relevant discussions going on across Talk London – in the transport, environment and housing areas and elsewhere.

Talk London Team 


It seems things would be better if we had fewer people here. One of the mayor's responsibilities is "Promoting London: How we're supporing growth,... and promoting London as the best city to visit, invest and study in." ( This is presumably intended to increase tax revenue and reduce unemployment. But the negative effects on congestion (both traffic and overcrowding on public transport) and demand for housing should be taken into account. We need to keep London as a lovely place to live, but keep quiet about it!


as i suffer from cervical spondulosis (arthritus in the neck) i am very concerned regarding the decreasing amount of ,fore and aft ' seating available on london's train network.- sitting 'sideways' is, quite literally, a 'pain in the neck'.i wass quite shocked to see that the proposed trains for the Elisebeth line are all so fitted.
also, major doubts about segregated 'cycle superhighways' i crossed vauhaull bridge one weekday lunchtime, there were a whole three cyclists using a exclucive lane that took up a good third of the bridge's traffic capacity - still, knowing city hall, plans to either increase the price or scope of the congestion charge, to pay for this fiasco cannot be far behind.
if they can have camera spied-on, certain-time-of day bus lanes, where car drivers are excluded, surely, it would be far cheaper to do the same for cyclists - besides - the majority of them seem to prefer the pavement, anyway.


I sympathise with your first point, I fear that sitting passengers sideways is being used to line us up opposite the advertising. Re the small number of cyclists using the cycle lanes it's still early days. Here's a video of the M10 in 1959 a little less used than it is today.


I agree. It's inconceivable how a society in a developed country puts a child into lethal danger from turning cars.

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