The Mini City of The Future

The Mini City of The Future

Sitting at the heart of Canary Wharf’s ambitious urban development plan, Crossrail Place Roof Garden is the setting for this season’s Sustainability Hub shoot, featuring Sandbanks, Veja and more.

Until recently considered solely as a financial district built on the site of London’s former docklands, Canary Wharf has transformed into a world-leading sustainable community, complete with high-end residential developments, seamless tech innovation, and the world’s largest public art collection. It was only right that we shot the campaign here.

This is no small feat for an area once synonymous with the pinstriped excesses of yesteryear, a semi-isolated hive of financial activity, conceived in the ‘80s as a brash young upstart to rival the old City of London. So how did Canary Wharf come to represent the vanguard of eco-conscious urban living?

The answer lies in a cohesive sustainability strategy that places culture and community at the heart of the thriving mini city, in which over 120,000 people live and work every day. From the tallest skyscraper to the smallest espresso cup, every touchpoint is considered for its impact on the environment, resulting in a zero-waste neighbourhood, free from single-use plastics, powered by 100% renewable energy, the first in the world of its kind.

The Canary Wharf Group’s 2020 Sustainability Report details the positive steps taken over the past three decades, from responsible material sourcing to engagement with local communities. Clearly promoting a strong sense of wellbeing for business, residents and visitors has been central to their achievements. The target is to be fully carbon net zero by 2030.

You could call Crossrail Place Roof Garden the centrepiece of this vision. Opened in 2015, the public gardens are a stunning hub of biodiversity, housing plants from the Eastern and Western hemispheres within a space-age Foster & Partners timber shell (sourced responsibly, of course). The space acts not only as a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city, but as a connector between Canary Wharf and its neighbouring residential district Poplar, providing a welcoming meeting point for local communities, or as Foster himself put it: “the urban glue that binds a city together”. The leafy oasis remains one of London’s best kept secrets and features throughout our AW21 sustainability shoot. The gardens are free to visit and open daily from 9pm. For more information, head to the Canary Wharf website.


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