The river Thames is one of the cultural landmarks of London. According to Mitchell (2011), Thames also represents a certain a way of life, a character, that portrays who and what the Londoners and the London life are all about. A river “can provide a natural narrative threat, a running through a film and precipitating events, often disgorging important plot points onto its banks where the threshold between liquid and solid states are emphasizes” (Mitchell, 2011, p. 130). The river, for instance, reminds people of how Londinium was established during the Roman conquest. In an effort to make movement from one place to another more efficient, the Romans decided to build the London Bridge so they can easily move across the Thames. The bridge brought about the settlements in London and its naming as the capital of the Roman British Empire. In this case, the river Thames represents the days of old, the past, specifically the beginnings of London.
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After the Roman conquest ended, the Thames became one of the inspirations for further development in London. The government decided to make the Thames the “site of expansion” where “political, maritime, and mercantile fortunes of the nation” were to be based (Sanders, 2011, p. 23). The river also inspired reconstruction and architectural transition in London. Due to rapid expansion and development in the area, businesses flocked to London, which consequently improved the local economy. Private owners and businesses desired to develop establishments in these areas and after building restaurants, business centers, etc., the rate of employment increased in the city. In recent years, the government is working on a regeneration project that includes the Kent Thames-side. The objective of the project is to facilitate urban development in this area. Along this side of the river, the Channel Tunnel and railway station will be opened to increase transportation options and make it more accessible to residents in this area. The local government believes that by increasing transportation options for people, unemployment will decrease. Residents who live further from the city central will find it an opportunity to easily commute from their homes to the heart of London. As a result, they will be encouraged to find jobs in these areas.
Due to rapid urbanization, the Thames also became a major transport route. Easy transportation by water benefited Londoners as it became easy to transport goods and conduct trade through the waterways (Hobbs & Dolan, 2008). Aside from contributing to economic development in London, the river Thames also represents the life of art and culture in London. Mitchell (2011) discussed how sceneries of the river are often captured in films in order to represent the picturesque view of London. For others, the river Thames is simply a mark of territory. A defense against intruders and a means to set boundaries within and outside the city. Overall, the river Thames serves as an icon of London art and culture, an inspiration for urbanization and redevelopment, a means for economic development, and a reminder of London’s history.
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