The parliamentary constituency of Erith and Thamesmead crosses the Borough boundary. Much of the housing was initially built for rent to families moving from inner London areas where slum clearance was intended.
Housing is still under construction here and water remains an important feature of the parks and linear spaces. Homes there are relatively affordable by London standards, partly reflecting continuing travel difficulties and partly the stigma arising from its origins as a state-inspired overspill area. It is under the flight path of airliners approaching London City Airport which detracts a little from the tranquil parkland character envisioned by its architects and planners.
District heating and cable broadcasting were pioneered there. Thamesmead shopping centre is rather twee and contrived: finished in brick, its design marked the end of an era (1952-1972 ?) when architects toyed with the notion that English people could be persuaded to enjoy living in overtly concrete, system-built structures. Some overhead pedestrian walkways have been demolished for reasons of public safety and some ground floor garages have been infilled, as incidents of crime deterred their use as parking space.
The new prison of Belmarsh and the audacious, decorative and inventive sewage processing works at Crossness are on the western and eastern edges of Thamesmead respectively. The southern boundary is the covered South London Outfall Sewer, which has been landscaped as an elevated footpath called the Ridgeway.
There is a wide variety of active community groups and a short-range commercial radio station - Millennium Radio - that grew from the original cable (subsequently FM) service "Radio Thamesmead".