Museum Of London Imagines What Future London Might Look Like

The City is Ours, Museum of London ★★★☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 19 months ago

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Museum Of London Imagines What Future London Might Look Like The City is Ours, Museum of London 3
Visitors can submit their own views for improving London.

How do we improve urban living standards? What ideas have worked in other cities and are they relevant to London? What does the future hold for everyone living in this city? These are meaty questions and a massive topic that The City is Ours, a free exhibition at Museum of London, attempts to tackle.

The largest section of the show covers the big questions and examples from across the world. We see how a district in Leipzig now lies deserted due to a factory closure, and how a half-built tower in Caracas has been inhabited by squatters and turned into a vertical slum.

There are interactive displays aplenty.

Migrants tell their stories of settling into new areas though videos, and there are interactive elements such as a pinball machine with larger holes representing large cities, showing how they have a greater pull on people who tend to gravitate to them for both living and working.

A virtual reality headset which places visitors at the very edge of a skyscraper in Hong Kong is particularly impressive, creating a vertiginous experience that has us feeling weak at the knees.

Visitors engaging with the elements of the show.

Biting off such a large subject means many issues are touched upon but not fully explored, raising key questions but not offering solutions or digging deeper into the details.  

A reference is made to community energy and how excess energy from solar panels may be transferred to nearby businesses and houses. But how does this work? Are there any examples from around the world? When is this likely to happen? This show constantly leaves us wanting more. It may be quite effective at engaging children but for adults it feels a bit lightweight.

Thankfully, a second section does show real world examples of urban innovations including underground bike storage in Tokyo, paving slabs that generate energy when stepped on, and hole in the wall computers which children in impoverished areas can access on the street.

Step on these slabs to activate the lights by generating energy.

However, the two sections of this exhibition don't seem to quite match up and it does feel like two related, but separate, shows. Even with these flaws, it is still full of interesting insights into current and future life in an urban environment.

The City is Ours is on at Museum of London until 2 January 2018. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 24 July 2017