How will London look in the future? Here are some possibilities…

Flooded with water and littered with wind turbines, this is how the urban hub of Piccadilly Circus could look once the effects of climate change have taken their toll.

Buildings stand empty and water lilies drift quietly in the breeze – all that’s visible of the iconic area is the familiar ‘Sanyo’ sign, which has lost its trademark neon glow.

London’s Future: Global Warming

It’s an arresting image – and one of 14 in the London Futures display at the Museum of London imagining the impact global warming might have on the capital.

The stunning digitally transformed illustrations are the concept of London artists Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones who worked together to visualise the shocking realities the city could face.
A paddy field-covered Parliament Square shows how Londoners would cope with rising sea levels, creating self-sufficient food sources opposite the workplace of the country’s MPs.

Meanwhile, current Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been kicked out of his office and, nearby, eco-refugees have transformed The Gherkin into housing.

London’s Future: Climate Change

Madoc-Jones explains the G8 summit in Japan in 2008 – the first to have climate change as a theme – provided inspiration for the project.

“There was a lot of conjecture on the TV and radio about what the impact of global warming could be,” he says.

“We were listening and thinking about what it would be like. Words tend to pass over people, so we thought we should try to imagine it for ourselves; what our city would be like.”

He admits some of the concepts are tongue-in-cheek, such as the image of that archetypal British driveway, The Mall, which is pictured as a windfarm with turbines towering over flags in the quest for renewable energy.

But ultimately, the artists wanted their designs to engage and encourage people into considering and discussing how this frantic city could one day change.

London’s Future: Piccadilly Cirus Flooded

“It poses the question of what to do with city centres in the future as they effectively get made redundant,” Madoc-Jones said. “Piccadilly Circus flooded is a place synonymous with being busy – we all know the saying, ‘It’s like Piccadilly Circus’ – so we flooded it to see what it would look like being calm.”

The work might be a fiction, but if the climate change prophets are proved right, these photos could be more of a prediction. And right now, a London without traffic doesn’t look all bad…

Going Green: Eco-friendly Attractions in London

If these startling images have scared you into thinking about reducing your carbon footprint, don’t worry – there are still some interesting things you can do. has compiled a list of green atrractions in London, meaning being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be dull, or turn you into a hippy.

Head to Kew Gardens beside the River Thames in south-west London and wander its 121ha of stunning landscape.

Or stroll around beautiful lakes, reedbeds and marshes at the London Wetland Centre which attracts thousands of wild birds every year.

There’s also the ZSL London Zoo where you can come face-to-face with monkeys. Who knew going green could be such fun?

» Museum of London, London Wall, EC2
Tube: St Paul’s;
March 6, 2011

– Carol Driver