Essay collection

London Essays – Issue 8: Futures

This edition of London Essays looks at the capital’s future. What should we expect from it? How can we prepare for it? Most importantly, how can we shape it?

This latest collection of essays highlight how rapid technological change, continued population growth and environmental changes have the potential to become the significant drivers of inequality in London in the future.

New analysis published alongside the essays highlights some of the complex challenges likely to affect London in the future:

London’s environment is likely to undergo rapid change

  • Average temperatures are predicted to rise 2-3 degrees by the 2050s, with winters being wetter and summers drier. Furthermore, almost 25 per cent of London’s neighbourhoods are vulnerable to significant temperature rises, leading to challenges for London’s more vulnerable citizens;

Uneven demographic changes

  • London’s population is expected to continue growing fast, well into the middle of the century, but growth will not be equally distributed across the city – there are some places where it is actually expected to fall.

Young people leaving the city

  • Population projections envisage younger people declining as a proportion of the whole. In contrast to the general trend, the female population aged 25–34 is projected to decline. This may be a result of younger people being forced, or deciding, to move out of London.

Technological change will impact people’s jobs

  • Analysis suggests that automation is likely to play out very differently across different sectors of the London economy, but the wholesale and retail sector, the second-highest employer in London, has nearly two-thirds of jobs at high risk of automation.

Together the 15 essays — written by leading thinkers such as Corinne Swain, Arup Fellow, Jamie Bartlett, Director of Centre for the Analysis for Social Media and Celia Hannon, Director at Nesta — explore what the future might hold for London, and propose a wide range of solutions to these challenges.


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