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What does the future hold for London and cities around the world? Find out at the Museum of London’s major free exhibition for 2017

3 April 2017

The City is Ours

Museum of London

14 July 2017 – 2 January 2018

FREE major exhibition at the heart of the City Now City Future season

City Now City Future is supported by Bloomberg

With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, the Museum of London’s major free exhibition for 2017 asks how and why cities around the world are changing, and what urban communities are doing to improve city life. The museum will also dare its visitors to become actively involved in changing their own city and have a say on the future of urban living.

The exhibition, The City is Ours, sits at the heart of City Now City Future; a year-long season of exhibitions, creative commissions, large-scale public events, talks and debates which will tackle these questions. Originally created by the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, this is the first exhibition at the Museum of London to be presented in both English and French. The exhibition is split into three sections – Urban Earth, Cities Under Pressure and Urban Futures – and will be spread across three gallery spaces.

Urban Earth is a 12-minute infographics film that presents data from megacities such as London, Sydney, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Cairo and Sao Paolo, to visually compare these cities on issues such as population size, public transport networks, CO2 emissions, green spaces, wealth, access to health care, and life expectancy.

In Cities Under Pressure, a set of digital and physical interactives provide an overview of the risks, challenges and demands placed on global cities today such as the constant increase in urban populations, how to effectively share inhabited spaces, the use of digital technology and pressures on transport, infrastructure and the environment.

Urban Futures presents the ideas and initiatives being developed around the world by governments, businesses, communities and individuals to combat the various challenges that increasing urbanisation poses to these cities and their inhabitants. Explained through a series of short films, case studies include Medellin, once one of the most dangerous cities in the world but now a model for social cohesion with the introduction of a free cable car system, and Copenhagen, the greenest city in Europe which is building a sustainable future by introducing more cycle lanes than car lanes.

In addition to the content from the original Parisian exhibition, the Museum of London has also selected 25 innovative projects taking place across London which all aim to improve city life for their local communities. Ranging from growing projects and sustainable food schemes, to state-of-the-art technological ventures and charities promoting community cohesion, information and images about these London initiatives will be mapped on an interactive table so visitors can learn more. They will also be pinned on a physical map of London which visitors will be encouraged to populate themselves during the six-month run of the exhibition with information on projects taking place in their local area. The Museum of London has also commissioned a five-minute film for the same gallery which will present scenarios, stories, dreams and ideas about possible futures for London.

Foteini Aravani, Digital Curator at the Museum of London, said:

“The City is Ours examines the advantages, disadvantages, joys and frustrations of city life sparking debate and discussion about the future of city life for Londoners and people around the world. From looking at cities like Copenhagen and Medellin to Songdo and of course, London, there will be a call to action for every citizen to get inspired and to become more engaged in the city they live in.”

Every Thursday from 1-2pm, the London initiatives will present their work on making London a more sustainable place to live in the form of a walk, talk or workshop with the aim of encouraging visitors to get more involved in their local communities.

For further information on The City is Ours please visit




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About The Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.

The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added.

About City Now City Future

With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, the Museum of London’s City Now City Future season (May 2017 – April 2018) will examine the various challenges that an increasingly urbanised earth poses to the world and its inhabitants. At the heart of this year-long season of exhibitions, creative commissions, large-scale public events, talks and debates is The City is Ours, a dual-language exhibition from the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris which explores the ideas and innovations being developed by urban communities to improve how their cities work and people’s experience of living in them. The City Now City Future season is supported by Bloomberg.

About Bloomberg

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength – delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately – is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his corporate, foundation and personal giving. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. For more information, please visit

About the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie

Located in Paris - La Villette, the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie is keen to ensure to make science accessible to all. Its fun and interactive approach aims to tackle science through discovery, questioning major challenges facing our world.

About The London Initiatives

Open Data Camden – Camden

Open Data Camden was launched in 2015 and now includes over 300 different datasets, features up-to-date information on everything from parking bays and planning applications to housing stock and road accidents. Residents, businesses, community groups and others can access the data in several ways, depending on their need, to use the data to benefit Camden and its residents. Many of the datasets are updated automatically so that members of the public have access to the same data as council staff. The site’s popularity has surpassed the council’s expectations - as of March 2017, the site had 1.7m page views since its launch.

Museum Freecycle – Kennington

Founded in 2014, Museum Freecycle is hosted by Freecycle and allows for a free exchange of unwanted items between UK museums that can either donate or post requests for items that are needed. Museum Freecycle is the first ever industry-wide freecycle group and is run voluntarily with zero budget. Since its inception, the initiative has reduced the environmental impact of the UK museum sector and given a second lease of life to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of museum equipment.

YouChoose: Budget consultation tool – Redbridge

YouChoose is an online budget simulator that encourages members of the public to consider where council budget cuts should fall, where efficiencies might be made, and where (from a list provided by the council) possible efficiency savings and methods of income generation might be made. The tool gives residents the opportunity to indicate which services they prioritise most highly or feel are least important.

GoodGym - London

GoodGym is a community of runners that combine getting fit with doing good. They combine their runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with social visits and one-off tasks they can't do on their own. 1 million people aged 65 and over admit to always or often feeling lonely, and 17% of those living alone see family and friends less than once a week. GoodGym makes a contribution to improving quality of life for older people.

CARAS – Tooting

CARAS is a community outreach charity that supports people of refugee and asylum-seeking background living in South-West London. They offer a range of activities that help people of all ages to develop their English skills, access services and opportunities, build supportive social networks and feel welcomed. They work with individuals to make sure that people get the specific support that matches their situation, no matter how complex.

Kingston Pound – Kingston Upon Thames

Created in early 2013, the Kingston Pound is designed to boost the local economy by encouraging people to spend their money in independent local shops and with local businesses. The Kingston Pound currently exists electronically using banking software Cyclos, with plans in place to roll out a physical currency. Since its launch Kingston Pound has added value to the local economy with each £1 converted equalling a value of £1.30 for the area. The project works with local community groups through its charity partner Love Kingston to ensure the value to the area is not just economic.

Growing Communities – Hackney and Dagenham

Growing Communities is working to create a more sustainable and resilient food system to meet the challenges posed by corporate dominance and climate change. In Hackney, they run an organic fruit and vegetable scheme and the Growing Communities Farmers' Market which direct the community’s buying power towards farmers who are producing food in a sustainable way. Their Dagenham Farm grows food for the veg scheme; the Big-Lottery-funded Grown in Dagenham programme trains local residents, including children, in food growing and preparation.

Repowering London – Brixton

Repowering London is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes and facilitates the wide scale development and local ownership of renewable energy projects across South London. They specialise in working with community groups and local authorities to reduce CO2 emissions, tackle fuel poverty, educate residents about energy efficiency, promote local leadership through co-operative community engagement and provide opportunities for local and responsible financial investment.

Grow Up – Beckton

GrowUp Urban Farms is changing the way food is grown and distributed in the city. They produce sustainable fresh fish, salads and herbs in London using a combination of aquaponic and vertical growing technologies, lowering the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating a farm that has taken an unused warehouse and converted it to grow fresh produce. Through the use of aquaponic technology and protected cropping, they produce a year-round harvest of fresh, leafy vegetables and fish.

Better Lives London College of Fashion – London

‘I Stood Up’ gives voice to public concerns relating to some of world’s most pressing environmental and social problems – from water shortage and pollution to political apathy. The initiative grew out of Habit(AT), a Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion research project conceived by Professor Dilys Williams, exploring the influence of fashion on our cities and way of lives. The work of the centre is encapsulated by London College of Fashion, UAL’s ethos of Better Lives, using fashion to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live. Through a wide agenda, which includes; social responsibility, environmental sustainability, awareness-raising and collaboration, London College of Fashion, UAL encourages dialogue between staff, students and the wider community to develop an understanding of how we can use fashion as a catalyst to create better lives for all.

London Cycling Campaign – London

The London Cycling Campaign is a 12,000-strong membership charity that campaigns to make cycling safe and inviting for everyone. Their vision is to transform London into a healthier, cleaner and happier place to live, where cycling is a choice for any Londoner who wants to ride the streets conveniently and without fear. To achieve this they lobby decision-makers at all levels, presenting them with evidence-based arguments for encouraging bicycle use before motorised transport.

Safer London - Southwark

Safer London is the leading London charity working to prevent and address gang violence, vulnerability and sexual exploitation. They provide needs-led intensive support, early intervention, and mentoring through extensive pan London services. Safer London believes 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.

Adobe Village Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School – Hounslow

In October 2009 Small Earth was approached by Hounslow Heath Infants’ School in West London to build a rammed earth play dome. The aim was to provide a safe outdoor shelter that would mitigate the noise of the overhead aircraft coming in to land at Heathrow. The school is directly under the flight path of Heathrow's southern runway and outside play for the children is dominated by deafening interruptions every 2 minutes as landing aircraft pass a few hundred feet over their heads. Sound tests inside the dome showed a noise reduction of over 17 decibels and a considerable reduction in the duration of the noise event. Heathrow are now providing these buildings to other schools through their Community Noise Insulation Scheme.

Philips Intelligent Street Lighting / Thames Landscape Strategy – Richmond

Philips Intelligent Street Lighting for the Natural Environment in partnership with the Thames Landscape Strategy helped create a secure environment for both a significant bat population and the citizens of Richmond on Thames Warren Path. Reducing the effects on the nocturnal animal communities but maximising safety for the public use of the path, this initiative increased energy savings by up to 80% and made the path a secure place.

Wayfindr – London

Wayfindr is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to empower vision impaired people to overcome isolation through audio based navigation on mobile devices. Wayfindr is a joint venture between The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) and ustwo (a global digital product studio). It has been extensively tested in partnership with two of the world’s largest metropolitan transportation authorities, in Sydney and London, and the model ensures it can be offered across the world.

Wrap Up London – London

Wrap Up London is an annual coat donation and distribution campaign that encourages Londoners to donate their unwanted winter coats and jackets to the city’s most vulnerable people in need. The main collections are held at eight major tube stations for three days in the second week of November during the peak morning commuter hours. The donations are then sorted and re-distributed directly to homeless shelters and refuges.

FoodCycle – London

FoodCycle is a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and loneliness. They run over 30 projects across the UK, united by the simple idea that food waste and food poverty should not coexist. In London there are projects in Hackney, Lewisham, Peckham and Marylebone.

Copper Lane Project - Stoke Newington

London’s first co-housing project, architects Henley Halebrown designed 1-6 Copper Lane for a group of residents who joined forces to create a community of six individual houses with shared spaces. Co-housing is thus a way to own your private home but, at the same time, have additional facilities that become more affordable through communal investment and use, such as laundries, gardens or a hall for events as at 1-6 Copper Lane. The idea is to build a project around mutual values that include a desire for sustainable living as well as interaction with neighbours.

Living Under One Sun – Tottenham

Living Under One Sun is a multi-award winning not-for-profit organisation, actively creating places for communities to meet, access services, share skills and ideas and shape their neighbourhood. They deliver programmes in food growing, sports, wellbeing and community consultation to bring nature a little bit closer to communities and communities closer to each other.

Y Cube Unit – Mitcham

YMCA, the world’s oldest and largest youth charity, opened its first Y:Cube development in September 2015. Designed by renowned architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the set of 36 apartments are for single people in housing need and rented out at 65 per cent of the market rate in the area. The affordable accommodation scheme is located in Clay Avenue in Mitcham and serves as move-on accommodation for people leaving homelessness hostels and supported housing schemes.

Citizen Sense Dustbox – Deptford

Citizen Sense has developed new pollution-sensing technology called the ‘Dustbox’ to test the air quality in Deptford and surrounding neighbourhoods. The Dustboxes measure particulate matter (PM) 2.5, and are made in 3D-printed ceramic shapes that resemble magnified pollen and soil particulates. The citizen-gathered data from the Dustboxes is piped to Citizen Sense’s Airsift online data analysis toolkit, where data can be analysed and compared to other nearby data. The Dustboxes are developed as part of Citizen Sense’s ‘Urban Sensing’ research area that looks at alternative ways in which the ‘smart city’ might materialise, and how citizen engagement with environments and technology might develop as new community infrastructures.

Guerrilla Gardening – Elephant & Castle

In 2004, Richard Reynolds began a blog to record his solo guerrilla gardening activities outside Perronet House, a neglected council block in Elephant and Castle. Since then, more and more people have joined in with the guerrilla gardening pastime, a revolt against the scarcity of public space as a place to grow beautiful and tasty things.

Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail – Hanwell and Norwood Green

Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail is a local community project to plant and care for a trail of publicly accessible community orchards in the Grand Union Canal corridor in Hanwell and surroundings. The orchards benefit humans, flora and fauna alike, and the fruit is free to pick and enjoy. They have planted over 100 fruit trees and fruit-bearing shrubs, hazels and rowans since January 2015 in over 12 locations between the Brentford and Southall borders, building nature and wildlife habitat improvements as well as a strong community of local volunteers with a shared sense of responsibility.

Organic Lea – Chingford

Organiclea is a worker's co-operative set up in 2001 in the Lea Valley in North East London. They grow and distribute organic food and plants locally, inspiring and supporting others to do the same, and they make food growing more accessible through volunteering, support schemes and accredited training. Their core values are growing food using ecologically sound and sustainable methods, building a just food production and trading system, and building community and fostering social justice through food growing.

Living Streets - Whitechapel

Living Streets is the UK charity for everyday walking. Their aim is to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. Their ambition is to get people of all generations to enjoy the benefits that this simple act brings and to ensure all our streets are fit for walking.