Teacher-less schools, urban farming & separate migration laws: London 2062?

18 November 2013

London 2062 image

Is London turning into a city where football clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea run schools, Londoners commonly convert their roofs into “micro-farms” and people are subject to separate migration laws to the rest of the UK?

Watch a video introduction to the book

A new UCL book published today enables academics to give free rein to their imagination and consider how current trends in energy use, transport, education, governance and health might have played out by 2062.

In Imagining the Future City: London 2062, world-leading experts in urban planning, geography, politics, engineering, computer science and policy contribute scenarios intended to provoke debate about the choices currently facing Londoners. Potential scenarios envisaged by contributors include:

  • Teacher-less schools, with education taking place through distance learning Due to financial constraints, football clubs begin to step in to fill the gaps in otherwise patchy education services;
  • All cars in the city are electric, with advances in battery technology allowing a distance range of up to 1,000km. Car ownership is rare because of prohibitive taxing, but instead people lease them, providing a cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of transport;
  • High speed rail networks, with trains travelling up to 350km an hour, has made commuting into London from Manchester commonplace in 2063, and the travel time from Oxford to the centre of London has been cut down to 30mins;
  • By 2063, flooding will be a serious threat to 1 in 4 homes in London, and buildings on stilts and flood-proof basements will become the norm in new builds;
  • A different migration regime exists in London, independent to the rest of the UK. This opens up the city to the world’s migrants, while implementing ‘tele-surveillance’ measures to prevent migrants from taking up residence elsewhere in the country.

“It is important to stress that these are by no means predictions for the future, which are effectively impossible for a city as complex as London, and given the degree of uncertainty we are living with currently,” says Dr Sarah Bell, one of the book’s editors.

“What we have done is ask academics, students and our partners to consider London’s past and present, and imagine what things might look like fifty years from 2012 if certain policy trends continue in their current direction of travel. The book includes conventional research essays alongside more creative writing.

“With the city’s population set to reach nine million by 2030, research plays a vital role in understanding the issues facing future generations and how governments and policymakers can respond to these challenges. UCL’s research expertise in subjects as diverse as healthcare and politics to science, engineering and culture, enables researchers to take a holistic view of sustainable development in a city like London.”

Supported by the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities, the book is the culmination of a year-long project considering how London will change in decades to come, and the role of research in anticipating the needs of future generations of Londoners.


Media contact: Dominique Fourniol

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