Canary Wharf

Toy Town or a glimpse into the future?

Canary Wharf is one of the largest business hubs in London, home to soaring sky scrapers that the young up-and-coming professionals in commerce flock to. The new developments, and enormous array of amenities are a definite draw for tourists and locals, from buzzing bars and clubs to waterside restaurants, but it can be too much for many. It has been described as a 'Toy Town', referring to its dystopic, unnatural feeling. Having been there myself, I can definitely agree with this. Travelling along the DLR, swerving around buildings, it feels like you've been emerged in a sci-fi novel - like seeing a glimpse into a futuristic fantasy. Although there is a certain element of wonder to such a 'concrete jungle', many find its perfection and falseness threatening, and in a recent survey we carried out, we found that none of the visitors would like to live there; they said they wouldn't feel comfortable. But why is this? Perhaps as humans we are intuitively scared of a place where we can see no history or culture, as the Docklands which were previously there have been all but wiped out, leaving a few stranded ships as a reminder, and this creates the unease that some feel there. Some might merely be afraid of progression, or maybe the effect on the environment that the uncontrolled development had, but in any case, there is definitely something false about the area, from the perfectly manicured lawns and shrubs to the vast expanses of pavement. As well as the strange nature of the area, there is a huge amount of disparity, and travelling less than a kilometre away, you are confronted with some of the poorest areas of London, such as Westferry. However, Canary Wharf is not entirely bad. The developments, though in parts flawed, saved a derelict area from ruin after the closure of the Docklands, and provides employment for thousands of professionals. Though this is an advantage, I highly doubt this is a vision of the future, as it is highly unsustainable and quite unpopular.


Cameron Sandford VII