Monday, 2 October 2006

Future London

If London were a footprint, the heel would be a yellow wild flower meadow with butterflies and birds circling the London eye; the outside edge would be a line of pink chrysanthemums lining the foot of the Gherkin; the blue Thames would flow through the middle winding round wild orchards, veggie patches and contented ducks. The small toe would be a ray of sunshine, the middle toe, a green bin and, the big toe erm… the Olympic rings.

If this is all sounding a little too idyllic, it’s a view of London very much in Ken Livingston’s vision to 2012. This vision is currently on display at London’s ScienceMuseum where visitors can discover how to make small differences to contribute to a greener London. It’s a bold move, and one which is long overdue as pollution levels reach sky high in the UK’s capital. With the Olympics on the horizon, the Mayor of London sees the opportunity to change things and embed sustainability into 2012 developments.

The exhibition itself is characteristic of the present climate change debate. Its colourful, interactive displays present the facts without preaching. It’s an aspirational London which wants to shout out about its green spaces and eco builds, and to encourage people to visit and adopt similar practices.

This green campaign is designed to appeal to the senses. The exhibition surrounds you with colour, sounds, and smells to demonstrate that the environment is present in all we see, do, eat and consume. Therefore the potential for change is great. The ideas are simple and by presenting them in a familiar way, it is easier to see how they could fit into our everyday lives. Having said that, perhaps this audience already visits their local farmers’ market and cycles or takes the bus to work.

Appealing to a wider audience will be key to the climate change message. The Olympics is a good starting point as the audience is so wide and varied. If Ken can show how his London will be both sustainable and ready to become centre stage in 2012, it should be an interesting show.

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