"London is... a smart city

participant exhibitor at Seoul Biennale 2019

Stage: LIVE  september 7 - november 10

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Type: exhibition / research & development

Size: A0 Poster

We were invited to present an innovative proposal for future-London at the Seoul Biennale 2019, and were tasked to respond to the brief "London is a smart city". Our agenda tackles the huge issue of waste in cities, and the concerns for humanity to achieve a sustainable relationship with our planet. 



The UK produces around 27 million tonnes of household waste per year, equal to around 400kg of waste per person each year. But we are also wasting 400kg of data.


If we track, analyse and understand the waste of citizens, we gain a far more honest insight of what they are consuming, wasting or replacing. It can also help us to understand how people change their behaviour in response to different conditions (social, economic or physical) such as food shortages, price changes and marketing campaigns - future archaeology.

London Is a Smart City_red.jpg

With data we move from knowing the quantitative amounts, to understanding the qualitative. This becomes a powerful tool for designers and planners when considering the future of the city and how we live.


Our proposal rethinks our attitude toward waste at three scales:

  • Personal - decentralising waste management, and introducing a waste-based type of currency for exchanges & benefits, such as TfL credits.

  • Neighbourhood – turning future redundant parking bays & abandoned spaces into multi-functional waste-based hubs

  • City - generating live data to inform policy-decisions and as an essential tool for the design of new infrastructure, amenities or urban centres.

We foresee a future where automated and shared vehicles have lightened the demand for London’s parking, freeing up ‘micro-sites’ in London’s boroughs. We propose a series of parking-bay sized units combining small-scale recycling with facilities for compressing waste, producing energy and – crucially – data analysis.


Over time we envisage a proliferation of parking-bay sized units hosting a variety of activities (including research, design and communal cooking) which feed into the waste-based economy. These units would be located across the city, reducing the burden on waste services and creating a decentralised network of community hubs.

Waste Data Pod Technology

Exhibition info:

Seoul Biennale 2019

Peter Bishop is curating the London exhibition for the Seoul Biennale 2019, which opens on the
6th September 2019 and will run until 10th November 2019. Isabel Allen is Creative Director.

We are now on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will be characterised by a fusion of
technologies that will blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. The
current speed of these breakthroughs is changing almost every aspect of our lives. London is a city
of constant adaptation, which is why it has remained one of the major cities in the world. In this exhibition we will consider London’s key strengths and attributes that it will need to develop in order to remain a paradigm of urban living in the 21st Century; a city that celebrates intense human interaction.

Ten emerging and established architectural firms have been invited to contribute a proposition to
describe what London needs to continue to do for it to remain the leading global city, through and
beyond the middle of this century.

The participating practices are:

Weston Williamson + Partners - London is…a polycentric city
Foster + Partners - London is…a city to converse in
PiM Studio - London is…a city to be a child in
Studio Egret West - London is…a city to grow in
8FOLD - London is…a smart city
dRMM - London is…a city to live in
5th Studio - London is…a city to work in
Assemblage - London is…a city to get lost in
IF_DO - London is…a city to connect in
Hildrey Studio - London is…a city to be heard in


The exhibition will also showcase visions for a future London by students from the Bartlett School of Architecture. The school enjoys a rich reputation for cultivating innovative ideas in architecture, and the exhibition will feature student work from: Samuel Coulton, Ryan Hakimian, Naomi Rubbra, Ellie Sampson, Kieran Wardle, Ananda Wiegandt and Eric Wong.

In describing the exhibition Peter Bishop says:
’The Seoul biennale is establishing itself as one of the principal forums of debate about the future of cities not just in Asia but globally and I am excited to have been given the opportunity to curate London’s contribution to this debate. It will be an opportunity to showcase the wealth of ideas and
architectural talent from both students and new and established practices. The theme ‘London is…’ will pose propositions concerning what the successful city will look like by the middle of the century.

Although based on new ideas for London, we hope that our exhibition will strike a resonance with other cities across the world.