London's Future: How Piccadilly Circus Will Look In 2035, 2060 And 2090
It is possible to have different views about London’s Piccadilly Circus: It is either a tawdry vulgar mess typical of a city that has lost its way or a vibrant hub humming with life, typical of a city that has found it.
But what will it look like in 100 years' time? A 3D digital modelling exercise presided over by Piccadilly-based policy research organisation Chatham House could have the answer.
Futurescape London is intended to stimulate debate about the future of our cities over the next century, against the backdrop of city centres emptied out by the coronavirus pandemic and the growing urgency for urban hubs to support more sustainable lifestyles.
“Everything featured in the Futurescape time periods either already exists, or is in development," Chatham House Managing Director of Research Partnerships Rose Abdollahzadeh said. "In that sense, all of it is highly achievable and plausible if society wants to make it happen. The pandemic has also significantly accelerated certain changes. For example, ‘VR holidays,’ which appear in 2060 in Futurescape, are already being rolled out today as a reaction due to the restrictions on travel.”
You can explore the model here. This is what it envisages.
Piccadilly Circus 2035 depicts an urban environment adapted to meet emission reduction goals and to serve people rather than commerce and cars. Storytelling benches use augmented reality to make new human connections, while aspects of a wellbeing economy have taken root.
Piccadilly Circus 2060 imagines a city adapting to rising sea levels, bisected by new canals that support water transport and floating venues. Powered by efficient renewable energy, it is a world transformed culturally as much as physically, with insect-based snacks on sale and an economy evolved around principles of upcycling, upgrading and exchange.
Piccadilly Circus 2090 is an environment shaped by vertical farms, giant energy and lighting structures, new religious identities and flying ‘sky barge’ homes.
The project has been developed by Chatham House’s SNF CoLab, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in association with Platform Group and the School of International Futures.