The Urban Transformation of London
A bike ride through London to explore the city’s potential for sustainable urban living & infrastructure, through the eyes and pencil of designer Edward Crooks.
We are living in a time of constant change, transforming the remnants of the past through progressive solutions for the future. As one of the leaders driving micromobility innovation globally, we are observing developments closely and aim to shape the future of a more connected world. The journey from the past to the future, from technological inventions to ecological infrastructure and cultural habits, is created through our visions, passion and expertise. This story is about such a journey envisioned through the eye and visionary mind of designer Edward Crooks, who invites us on a bike ride across the city of London. It is a story that pushes existing boundaries, inviting us to #feeltheflow of change toward a more sustainable future.
It is the visionaries – the curious minds of modern cities who want to create the world themselves and be inspired by those who do so already – whom we invite to #FeelTheFlow.
Edward Crooks is a designer, architect and artist making installations, interiors, architecture and illustration to tell new stories in existing places. His works work aims to further the histories of constant change that make such places valuable. Based in East London, he works globally with a range of public institutions, with clients including the National Trust, RIBA, British Council and the Royal Academy. He has held positions with Asif Khan, Bureau Spectacular (Chicago/LA) and Hawkins Brown, and has been guest critic at various institutions including the Royal College of Art, University of Wisconsin and the University of Westminster. We meet Ed in downtown London to start our journey into the opportunities of future living & mobility concepts.
“As a designer I thrive on developing ideas that brighten the city, and bring people together in fun, sustainable ways.”
We are at one of the epicenters of city traffic, with bottlenecks, crossroads and many cars next to bike paths which often become very busy due to insufficient space for the rising number of bikes. Cycling in London has more than doubled since 2000. With Ed we show how Blackfriars Bridge could be envisioned, with car lanes moving aside to create bike highways as well as spaces for recreation, relaxation and active lifestyles. Only 20% of young Londoners have 60 minutes of physical activity each day. If everybody were able to enjoy cycling and walking in a new urban (mobility) infrastructure, we could increase the amount of activity required to support healthy growth. By focusing on a micromobility cycling infrastructure, we believe that the city could provide a mental space that promotes calm as well as encourage an outdoor lifestyle.
“Imagine a vision for a city designed around micromobility, embracing social and responsible development.”
“Where space is becoming more dense, progress relies on imagination, listening and collaborating to advocate for new, fairer use of public space."
We all know these gray urban spots that have not yet been envisioned to their true potential. Shorter Street is exactly such a space. Just around the corner from the busy financial district, gray urban areas like this could be developed as much greener spaces, made more relaxing through the provision of bike lanes instead of unused car lanes and parking lots. We see public squares transforming into cultural hubs to support social integration as well as equality and strength for local communities, assisting the city of London in its inclusion strategy in the process. (Link, but don’t know if we should mention it) We see many opportunities for change come alive through Ed’s visions for socially responsible urban living.
“Looking at places such as this, we can imagine how alternative transport such as eBikes might transform these spaces once again.”
What a place to re-envision space! The massive London Wall parking lot is located downtown in the city of London. The dramatic long tunnel takes us underground, where we can envision the future of scarce space used in a sustainable way, promoted with micromobility solutions. We can imagine the enormous potential for recreating such invisible spaces that were originally built for the car city of the future, and are now ideal candidates for transformation as part of the city's ambitious Transport Strategy for 2041. Have a look at Ed’s vision of how sunlight would bring new life to this space, giving birth to new areas for socializing and living, built around the piece of the old Roman Wall that was excavated when the parking lot was built.
“As we develop cities, I think we should aspire to more of these spaces, created for people and communities to appreciate calm and nature in the city.”
Fewer cars mean lower emissions, and a focus on better air quality inevitably leads to greener spaces and room for gardens, playgrounds, recreational areas and natural habitats for flora & fauna. Ed re-envisions this through the history of Postman’s Park: It was here where the Royal Mail postmen once met, leaning their trusty bikes against a lamppost, taking a break and enjoying the calm of nature. We aim to re-envision this history, enhanced through micromobility solutions, adding to the city’s green infrastructure plans and highlighting the social & individual benefits of planning that is centered around nature.
We end our journey at one of the city's most ambitious projects. The iconic Smithfield Market site is home to one of the city’s most prestigious modernization projects, the Smithfield Campus, including the new home for the Museum of London. A big chunk of old city is being transformed into an ambitious new cultural hub, incorporating everything from museums to gastronomy and space for dialog between all ages and cultures. #feeltheflow of change does not end here – Ed’s journey today was just the beginning.
“As our world evolves we can be inspired to imagine a city where we can all take part, defining the flow of its future.”