As Corinthia Hotel London’s Futurists in Residence, Christopher Sanderson and Martin Raymond are uniquely placed to share insight into the world we don’t yet know. Taking an analytical approach to trends and learnings from the past and present, they’ve shared their thoughts on five key ways London might look different in 20 years.
London’s unique streets, byways and thoroughfares date back, in parts, to Roman times, and have continued to grow and develop over the past 2,000 years. So 20 years won’t really change the fabric of the city that much – unless, of course, we suffer another calamitous event such as The Blitz. Retail will continue to dominate our high streets, and here it’s all about the plural. Expect to see smaller neighbourhood strips and clusters continue to develop as London becomes more diverse and new centres of creativity ferment in hitherto unpopular areas.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we had a Mayor who banned all fume-emitting vehicles from our city? To have a city where private and public vehicles run on clean energy would be an amazing thing. There’s no reason why we can’t aspire to such a vision.
Post-Brexit, if it happens, will London be able to maintain its position as the world’s leading creative capital? Tourists will certainly continue to visit to see the sights, but what also attracts them is London’s cultural diversity, its arts scene, theatres, restaurants, clubs and bars. And those can never really work if they only serve tourists – they have to be made by Londoners, for Londoners. And if we start to see an exodus of the very people that make London such a great city, we risk losing what makes London so special. The danger is that London could become a Disney version of a real city: all nostalgic attractions with no soul.
London has an enviable reputation as one of the world’s top cities to visit for food – not necessarily a unique cuisine, but rather the breadth of what’s on offer. This will continue to keep London at the top of any gourmand’s list of cities to visit. But again, unless we continue to support the cultural diversity that has spawned one of the best restaurant cultures globally, we’ll end up with a much less appealing monoculture. Over the next decade expect to see continued epicurean diversity, even more destination zones further afield, and a greater emphasis on traceability, transparency and what is in your meal.
Nowhere, not even New York, can offer the vibrancy and excitement of our theatre scene. We are leaders not only because we have a great subsidised sector offering the classics, new work in opera, music and dance, but also because we are the home of the growing trend in experiential and immersive events. From the seminal work of Punchdrunk to You Me Bum Bum Train, London leads the way in rethinking what a night at the theatre might mean. With the ongoing emphasis on technological development, this will carry on as the digital converges with the visceral to create new ways of conveying meaning and emotion. We expect London’s theatres to continue to astound and enrich.