Five futures for London

After the shock of Brexit Charles Leadbeater imagines in the FT five futures for London based on what has happened to other cities.  Here I summarise them and give scores out of 10 for likelihood of them happening and their desirability. The predictions are, of course, entirely useless.


Detroit: London collapses and empties. Likelihood 2/10; Desirability 1/10

Salonica/Thessaloniki: Until the early 20th century Salonica was a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multifaith, multilingual city where a shoeshine boy had to speak nine languages. Now it’s Thessaloniki and 95% Greek. This would be London becoming more British, more like the London I was born into. Likelihood 4/10; Desirability 2/10

West Berlin: An enclave of Europe within Britain with its own visa system. “It’ is an absolutely bonkers idea. We are 100% behind it.” Likelihood 2/10; Desirability 9/10

Shanghai: Shanghai was a European city in China. London could become a Chinese/Asian city within Europe. Likelihood 4/10; Desirability 9/10

Athens: A model of resilience during the crisis in Greece. The country was expected to leave the EU, but the deal offered by the EU was so awful that it decided to stay. The same could happen in Britain. Likelihood 3/10; Desirability 9/10


2 thoughts on “Five futures for London

  1. “London becoming more British, more like the London I was born into.” Careful, Richard! Are you suggesting being “British” is not being “multi-ethnic, multicultural, multifaith, multilingual”? Or do you mean “more Anglo-Saxon”?


    • Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I mean something like “more Anglo-Saxon,” although that seems an odd phrase to use. Is “white British,” which is used in the Census, a better phrase? These things are so tricky.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s