The City Is Ours review – will vertical forests and smart street lights really save the planet?

By Oliver Wainwright

Museum of London
By 2050, some 70% of the world's population will be living in cities. How will we cope? This maddeningly random show weighs up some inspired solutions

Can something as messy and complex as the issues surrounding mass global urbanisation be squeezed into a popular exhibition? It is a challenge Ricky Burdett attempted in his 2006 Venice architecture biennale, and ended up bamboozling many visitors with a dense slew of diagrams and statistics, which felt like a geography textbook stuck on the wall. It is something tech giant Siemens have also tried, in their Crystal visitor centre in east London's Royal Docks, but the result has the inevitable whiff of a corporate showcase.

Now the Museum of London – that most awkward of urban institutions, marooned on a roundabout in the financial Square Mile – is the latest to tackle the fact that 70% of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050. Sadly The City Is Ours hasn't made much progress on how to make the topic meaningful or engaging. The content is mostly inherited from a show that began at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris (with an extra section on London at the end), and it's like a pick'n'mix of school curriculum themes, lacking any sense of direction.

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