Seventy-five percent of our global population is projected to be living in cities by the middle of this century. How does this change affect your city and lifestyle? In collaboration with Panos Pictures and the World Photography Organisation (WPO), the nine-month social documentary initiative, #FutureofCities, launched this October under Sony’s Global Imaging Ambassadors program. With over a dozen photo commissions, this project explores how cities around the world are evolving and coping with the large-scale migrations of people from suburban and rural areas into urban environments. Panos photographers have begun examining this change through topics such as urban farming, eco-housing, technological innovations, elastic environments, children at play, green spaces, economic divides and much more. Primary areas for reporting include China, the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Brazil, with additional stories from Africa, Asia and Northern Europe.
LONDON, UK #FutureofCities; Some like it hot. Camera: Sony ILCE-7R
Recently a report stated that cities that ‘play together – stay together’. Bristol in the South West of England is one of the cities at the forefront of this thinking. After a little research Guy found that Bristol was to host the UK’s first ‘Hot Tub Cinema’ event. An event that pitted perfect strangers in an outdoor hot tub and made them watch a movie on two giant outdoor screens. These images are an attempt to explore the little moments and relationships that occur in a outdoor hot tub in the UK in winter. Little reflections, moments, details of the human form, awkward glances lit by the light from a classic film. Brits may have a reputation for prudishness, but based on this event, they seem to be developing a more ‘Scandinavian’ approach to the human form.
LOS ANGELES RIVER #FutureofCities; LA River. Camera: Sony ILCE-7R
The city of Los Angeles plans to restore the Los Angeles River channel – formerly an industrial wasteland – with up to $1 billion in state, local, and federal money, improving the ecology of the river and making it an attractive environment for residents and visitors. These changes are expected to lead to billions more in commercial and residential development. Noted in a May 24, 2014 article in the Los Angeles Times the inevitable gentrification that results may have a detrimental impact on working class communities who have lived by the river for generations. Carolyn had photographed the river channel between between the Sepulveda basin and downtown Los Angeles.
BEIJING SUBWAY: #FutureofCities: Beijing Subway, China, 2014. Camera: Sony a7R
The Beijing subway is the second largest metro system in the world with 465 kilometres of track servicing the vast urban and suburban area of Beijing municipality. Opened in 1969, it now consists of 17 lines with more than 232 stations and an average of 9.5 million daily commuters. To accommodate the growing number of users, extensive expansion plans are set to more than double the network by 2020. As an example of state led development unconstrained by profit imperatives, Beijing’s metro is a fascinating case study in how cities can try to cope with ever expanding populations and the imperative of keeping people moving. Adam Dean, a long time resident of Beijing, has explored and documented Beijing’s labyrinthine Subway system.
LONDON ROOFTOPS: #FutureofCities; London Honey, London, 2014. Camera: Sony a7R
Honeybees have been having a hard time. Their numbers are falling and yet they play a vital role to life on earth. Without bees many of our favorite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves and ⅓ of our food supply would be gone. It has been claimed that without the honeybee we humans would last all of 4 years on planet Earth. Abbie met up with London beekeepers Chris Barnes and Paul Webb (Barnes and Webb) to discover more. The UK has an estimated 274,000 bee colonies, producing 6,000 tons of honey per year with the help of 44,000 beekeepers.