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City Now City Future: introducing a season

From May 2017 to April 2018, the Museum of London will hosted the City Now City Future season: over a hundred events, exhibitions, creative commissions, talks and debates exploring urban change in London and around the world. Lauren Parker, one of the curators behind the season, offers a special preview of what it's all about and what's on offer.

Lauren Parker

Lead curator, City Now City Future season

30 March 2017

We live in a world of cities. More than half the planet’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050 more than 70% of us may be living in cities. What does the future hold for London and for cities around the world? And how can we all play a part in making our city better? City Now City Future, the Museum of London’s first ever year-long season, explores the challenges we face and how our cities are evolving to meet them.

The people's city

Explore urbanisation through digital and physical interactives and films. ® V Castro EPPDCSI

Films in the Urban Futures series

The City is Ours is full of exhibits that explore the pleasures and challenges of city life. ® V Castro EPPDCSI

Safer London is a London-based charity working to prevent and address gangs, violence, vulnerability and sexual exploitation. Safer London’s mission is to improve the safety and wellbeing of young people in London affected by violence and crime. They believe that ‘every young person should be given the opportunity to live free from exposure to gangs, exploitation and crime’ and ‘work tirelessly to make that happen’.   One of their newer programmes is ‘London Gang Exit’, in which they are leading a consortium operating across London to provide tailored support to young people aged 16-24 who are involved in or at risk from gangs.  They have also recently received funding from the Home Office to pilot a project working with girls aged 11-18 with the aim to help them avoid ‘being drawn into a destructive lifestyle by intervening at an early age’.

25 ways to fix the city

Meet the London initiatives, 25 projects working to improve urban life who are featured in The City is Ours.

Like many other cities around the world, London is a place of great contrasts and complexities. The city is made up of millions of individuals, each of us with our own identity, style and culture, taken from both global and local influences and histories. The City Now City Future season will begin by celebrating the diversity that we bring to London, making visible the voices, stories and faces of people living and working in the city today.

To explore these citizen stories, the Museum of London is hosting groundbreaking exhibition The City is Ours. Created by the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, this interactive dual language exhibition, spread across three of the museum’s galleries, focuses on how and why our cities are transforming, and what urban communities around the world are doing to improve city life. And to make sure that all Londoners have a chance to take part, this flagship exhibition is absolutely free.

Sharing the city

'Guerilla gardener' Richard Reynolds plants flowers and vegetables in neglected urban spaces, re-greening south London.

Guerilla gardening

Richard Reynolds & fellow activists plants flowers and vegetables in neglected urban spaces, re-greening south London.

A group that uses surplus food and kitchen capacity to feed people at
risk from social isolation in the city.

Foodcycle pick up

A group that uses surplus food and kitchen capacity to feed people at risk from social isolation in the city.

Life in the city can be challenging. When this happens we look to the people around us for help, support and friendship. Across London, many local initiatives are working to create a more inclusive city, sharing or re-using spaces, amenities and assets, and passing on skills to others. The Museum of London has partnered with 25 innovative projects taking place across London which all aim to improve city life for their local communities. They're mapped onto digital interactives in The City is Ours, and we'll be encouraging visitors to nominate their own local initiatives for inclusion. Learn more about the London initiatives.

The featured London initiatives range from sharing schemes like FoodCycle, who work to eliminate food waste and food poverty within the city, to cutting-edge technological projects like Wayfindr, who work with the Royal London Society for the Blind to open up the city to everyone.

We also want to make sure that visitors can experience the work these projects do for themselves. Every Thursday from 1-2pm during the exhibition's run, these London initiatives will run a free walk, talk or workshop with the aim of encouraging visitors to get more involved in their local communities.

Changing the city

Featuring a series of short films, this interactive installation by artists Blast Theory gathers recordings from visitors to build a portrait of the future that is personal, provocative and filled with hope.

My Point Forward, by artists Blast Theory

Use this interactive installation to jump decades into the future, to imagine a new London and your place in it.

Learn urban foraging in the Hack It workshop at the Museum of London.

DIY Hack it workshops

Learn how to change the city for yourself in in a series of workshops ranging from urban foraging to building your own bee hotel.

Like many cities are the world, London is growing in both size and population. City planners have to balance the needs for housing, transportation and infrastructure, while aiming to keep population density to manageable levels. Individuals and communities are also challenging the status quo, creating new shared housing or work spaces, and greener streets. From governments and policy-makers to community groups and individual residents, we are all part of making our city.

We've commissioned artists Blast Theory to create My Point Forward, an interactive installation exploring how London will change in the future and inspiring visitors to be a part of recreating the city.

Step into a corner of London and look around. Gaze at the towers in the distance. Pick out the path trodden through the park or the eddy in the river. And then jump decades into the future to imagine a new London and your place within it.

Featuring a series of short films, My Point Forward gathers recordings from visitors to build a personal and meditative portrait of the future.

The future city

 Urban skyline in the City of London.

What lies ahead for London?

How will the city change over the next century? Join us to find out.

Our City Now City Future season will encourage visitors to imagine how London will be from tomorrow to 2050. How might the ideas, initiatives and technologies presented across the season bring change to individuals and communities alike? What do we wish for as the active citizens of tomorrow? How will we experience the London of the future? The London Salon series, held after hours each month at the Museum of London, will bring together writers, thinkers and practitioners to explore the lived experience of London.

We'll be announcing dozens more exciting projects over the course of the season. Follow us on social media, sign up for our newsletter, or keep an eye on our season webpage for more details.

City Now City Future at Museum of London closed in April 2018.

The City is Ours exhibition created by