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Inspired by Panos Pictures agency, Sony’s Global Imaging Ambassadors (SGIA), bring you #FutureofCities – a social documentary project, which takes a look at the problems, solutions and trends shaping cities globally.

A recent exhibition at London's Somerset house showcased the 20 stories within a large scale display which welcomed over 33,000 visitors in just over two weeks. 


"It is rare to work on a photographic project of such universal appeal, and one which speaks so directly to the concerns and interests of our modern times.”  
- Francesca Sears, Panos Pictures Director

Explore the stories below and participate with your own work concerning the future of your cities, through the Storytelling Award presented with our partner Maptia.

  • Medellín

    Lianne Milton

    Medellín

    Sony α7S, 35mm f/2.8 lens, (F-Stop: 2.8, Shutter: 1/400, ISO: 100)

    A farmer walks up a hillside near the 46-mile-long concrete walking and cycling 'greenbelt' which encircles a valley on the edge of Medellin and is designed to curb urban sprawl. Not all residents are enthusiastic about the project. Some prefer the old, dirt path that was there before. Many people living in this area are farmers displaced by the half century long conflict in Colombia.

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  • Hebei 3

    Justin Jin

    Hebei

    Sony α7S, Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, (F-Stop: 11, Shutter: 1/250, ISO: 200)

    Hebei Province, China. Housing estates stand on recently reclaimed farms.

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  • Nyani_Quarmyne 6

    Nyani Quarmyne

    Johannesburg

    DSC-RX1R (F Stop: 2.0, Shutter: 1/320, ISO: 100)

    Natalie Baniea trains a young boy during an afternoon session at the George Khosi's Hillbrow Boxing Club. As the club does not have the resources to provide child-size equipment, the youngsters make do with adult gloves. Hillbrow, in downtown Johannesburg, is the city's most notorious neighbourhood. It is overcrowded, ridden with illegal squats and suffers from high levels of crime, much of which is related the thriving illicit drug trade. Against this backdrop, George Khosi's story is not atypical. A childhood spent on the streets, where he survived by committing petty crime and hustling, led to imprisonment at the age of 16. Because he was big and looked older than his age this incarceration was in an adult institution. Here he began to fight, since, as he says “they wanted to make me a woman and I didn't want to be a woman”. When he got out, he took up boxing in earnest. His prospects as a professional boxer looked bright until he was shot and left for dead during a burglary. He lost his right eye and now walks with a limp. His boxing career seemed over but George picked up his gloves again, this time to teach Hillbrow's youngsters. His gym became a place of hope and discipline for local youth, keeping them off the streets and even producing some national champions.

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  • #FutureofCities - A Restoration

    Eli Reed

    #FutureofCities - A Restoration

    Sony α7R, FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS (F-stop: 4.0, Shutter: 1/60 seconds, ISO: 100)

    A Cheonggyecheon museum guide stands on a floor display with a video insert

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 14.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 160)

    Grand tree-like structures dominate Singapore’s 'Gardens by the Bay', with heights between 25 and 50 meters tall. The ‘Supertrees’ are planted with enclaves of plants including exotic ferns, bromeliads, orchids and vines. Their artificial tree structures perform a number of intelligent functions including cooling the park’s conservatories, providing shade in the day and illuminating the park with spectacular lighting at night. The ‘Supertrees’ and are designed to mimic the ecological function of natural trees; powering themselves with eco-friendly energy by absorbing solar power through photovoltaic cells and collecting rainwater to both irrigate the gardens and supply fountain displays. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is an integral part of the Singapore government’s strategy to raise the quality of life in the city by enhancing the prevalence of urban greenery and flora.

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  • 01(2)

    Brian Sokol

    Kathmandu

    Sony α7M2 camera (F-Stop: f/8, Shutter: 1/250, ISO: 200)

    A bird spreads its wings above a newly developed area of Kathmandu, while the high summits of the Langtang Himalayan range rise in the background. Isolated between malarial jungles to the south and the world's tallest mountains to the north, Nepal has long existed in something of a 'time warp' that continues to the current day.

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  • #FutureofCities - Made in Bangkok

    Zackary Canepari

    #FutureofCities - Made in Bangkok

    Sony α7S, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (F-Stop: 2.8, Shutter: 1/60, ISO: 25600)

    A security guard on top of the Lebua State Towers in Bangkok. Thailand. 2014.

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  • 15. SDA02331IND

    Sanjit Das

    Mumbai

    Sony α7S, Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA lens, (F-Stop: 16, Shutter: 1/250, ISO: 160)

    Men working in the Dhobi Ghat. This is an open-air laundromat where India’s ‘Dhobi' people wash laundry for all strata of the city's society. From hospital sheets to hospitality tablecloths, from garment factory pieces to the everyday items from people's homes, the workers in the Dhobi Ghat wash the material by hand, dry it and return it to its owners.

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  • FOC JAPAN Noriko_16

    Noriko Hayashi

    #FutureofCities - Stairway to Heaven

    Sony α7 II, FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS (F-stop: 4.0, Shutter: 1/60 seconds, ISO: 800)

    A monk prays in the ‘Suishoden’ crystal hall inside the cemetery building at Banshoji temple in Nagoya city. In this hall, blue LEDs illuminate 2,000 small glass containers decorated with an image of the Buddha, each housing the ashes of a deceased individual. Visitors access their loved ones’ ashes by inserting an electronic identity card at the entrance of the hall. This process then activates the appropriate compartment and lights it in gold. At this temple, memorial services are held regardless of religious sect.

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  • Abbie Trayler-Smith London Honey

    Abbie Trayler-Smith

    #FutureofCities - London Honey

    Sony α7R, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 5.6, Shutter: 1/1000, ISO: 160)

    Beekeepers Chris Barnes (dark hair) and Paul Webb of Barnes and Webb inspect their hives on top of The Red Gallery, Shoreditch, East London. This is the final hive inspection to check for disease or problems before the hives are shut up for winter for the bees hibernation. 4th October 2014.

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  • Adam Dean Beijing

    Adam Dean

    #FutureofCities - Beijing Subway

    Sony α7R, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 2.8, Shutter: 1/160, ISO: 4000)

    Passengers enter a station on the Beijing Subway in Beijing, China in October 2014.

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  • FOC JAPAN Noriko_21

    Noriko Hayashi

    #FutureofCities - Stairway to Heaven

    Sony α7 II, FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS (F-stop: 5.0, Shutter: 1/60 seconds, ISO: 800)

    An evening view of Tokyo’s Aoyama cemetery, managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Aoyama cemetery is an example of one of Tokyo’s traditional, park-like cemeteries which are now located on some of the world's most expensive land. The cemetery covers a large area of 263,564 square metres, yet due to high demand, burial spots here can now cost more than $100,000. It is within this climate that high-rise, multi-storey cemeteries are becoming an increasingly popular burial option in Japan.

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  • Carolyn Drake - LA River

    Carolyn Drake

    #FutureofCities - L.A. River

    Sony α7R, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (F-Stop: 2.0, Shutter: 1/2500, ISO: 100)

    The Army Corp of Engineers carried out an ambitious plan to encase the Los Angeles River in concrete after catastrophic floods in the 1930s led to calls for flood control. Except for a few places where the muddy bottom was impossible to replace, the river was turned into a concrete drainage channel. The ecology of the river disappeared, making room for development and a flood-free city.

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  • #FutureofCities - The Traffic Robot

    Brian Sokol

    #FutureofCities - Robocops

    Sony α7R, 135mm F2 (F-Stop: 2, Shutter: 1/2000, ISO: 100)

    Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a bustling megacity of more than 10 million people. Two of the biggest problems that the metropolis faces are increasing traffic congestion and rampant police corruption. In order to combat both of these issues in one fell swoop, Women’s Tech - a Congolese cooperative employing a handful of engineers, designers and dreamers - created and manufactures giant robotic traffic police. The eight-foot tall humanoid structures have had a demonstrable effect in improving traffic flow through some of the city’s busiest intersections. They are also immune to bribery, incapable of assaulting motorists and work back-to-back 24 hour shifts, 7 days per week. And some of them have sunglasses.

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  • #FutureofCities: NYC, An Urban Rooftop Renaissance

    Vivienne Gucwa

    #FutureofCities: NYC, An Urban Rooftop Renaissance

    Sony α7S (F Stop: 9, Shutter: 1/80 seconds, ISO: 200)

    Adjacent to the soaring skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan rooftop extensions become a part of the skyline.

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  • #FutureofCities - A Restoration

    Eli Reed

    #FutureofCities - A Restoration

    Sony α7R, FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS (F-stop: 5, Shutter: 1/1000 seconds, ISO: 50)

    A stone walkway enables city-goers to cross the urban stream running through the Cheonggyecheon area in downtown Seoul.

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  • Hebei 16

    Justin Jin

    Hebei

    Sony α7S, Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, (F-Stop: 10, Shutter: 1/500, ISO: 200)

    Hebei Province, China. The Chinese government builds relocation housing over razed farms and villages to urbanise farmers "on the spot".

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  • #FutureofCities - Lianne Milton, The Big Pool

    Lianne Milton

    #FutureofCities - The "Big Pool"

    Sony α7S, FE 35mm f2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 4, Shutter: 1/1250, ISO: 100)

    A boy floats in the Piscinão de Ramos, or "big pool of Ramos.”

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  • Carolyn Drake - LA River

    Carolyn Drake

    #FutureofCities - L.A. River

    Sony α7R, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 11.0, Shutter: 1/500, ISO: 500)

    One Sunday morning, a small group of activists brought kayaks and trash bags into one of several soft bottom stretches along the river above the Sepulveda dam and collected trash caught in the trees and rocks.

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  • Guy Martin

    Guy Martin

    #FutureofCities - Some Like it Hot!

    Sony α7R, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (F-Stop: 2.8, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 200)

    Hot tub cinema viewers watch the disney film ‘The Lion King’ at the Bristol Paintworks, on the 10th of October 2014. The event was held over four nights with a cross section of people attending, but mainly the city's young student population enjoying the

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  • #FutureofCities - Made in Bangkok

    Zackary Canepari

    #FutureofCities - Made in Bangkok

    Sony α7S, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 2.8, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 3200)

    Commuters wait for a local bus in Bangkok. Thailand. 2014.

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  • #FutureofCities - World Class City

    Sanjit Das

    #FutureofCities - Malaysia Boleh?

    Sony α7S, FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS (F-Stop: 22, Shutter: 15 seconds, ISO: 100)

    Overview of Kuala Lumpur with the iconic Petronas twin towers in the distance.

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  • #FutureofCities - The Traffic Robot

    Brian Sokol

    #FutureofCities - Robocops

    Sony α7S, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (F-Stop: 1.8, Shutter: 1/160, ISO: 800)

    Making giant robot cops doesn’t only require aluminum plating, fiber optics, a satellite data feed and LEDs, it takes a business plan. Here one of Women’s Tech’s many male employees (well, it’s a small business, but there are far more guys than gals) points at a bunch of words written on a dry erase board at the company’s workshop behind a crazy restaurant-cum-fun fair, complete with a mini locomotive, in Kinshasa.

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  • City as Refuge

    Brendan Hoffman

    City as Refuge

    Sony α7R, 35mm f/2.8 lens (F-Stop: 8, Shutter: 1/200, ISO: 320)

    Luggage belonging to people displaced by fighting around the town of Debaltseve upon the group's arrival by train. The group spent several hours in Kharkiv before boarding a train that will take them to Lviv, on the Western side of the country. February 12, 2015 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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  • #FutureofCities - Lianne Milton, The Big Pool

    Lianne Milton

    #FutureofCities - The "Big Pool"

    Sony α7S, FE 35mm f2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 4, Shutter: 1/1000, ISO: 100)

    A view of the TransCarioca Bridge from Piscinao de Ramos. The bridge is part of a larger transportation system under construction which will link Rio's international airport with Barra da Tijuca, the main site of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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About FoC

Old Soul,
New Concrete

 
Hembei

Another Great
Leap Forward

 
Nyani Quarmmyne - Hillbrow

Hillbrow

 
Washing a City - Sanjit Dat


Washing a City

 
#FutureofCities - Social Urbanism


Social Urbanism

 
City as refuge


City as Refuge

 
Vertical Gardens


Vertical Gardens

 
About FoC

An Urban
Rooftop Renaissance

 
#FutureofCities - Shame of the City


Shame of the City

 


A Restoration

 
Noriko Hayashi - Stairway to Heaven Pod

Stairway to Heaven

 


Robocops

 
Precontent - LA River

Made in Bangkok

 
About FoC

Odds and Ends
from an Urban Stream

 
PRECONTENT - The Big Pool

The Big Pool

 
PRECONTENT - Malaysia Boleh?

Malaysia Boleh?

 
PRECONTENT - Some Like it Hot!

Some Like it Hot!

 
Precontent - LA River

L.A. River

 
Precontent: London Honey

London Honey

 
Adam Dean - Beijing Subway


Beijing Subway

 
About FoC

Read more on
#FutureofCities

 

Share images from your changing cities

We cannot make this project truly global without seeing the #FutureofCities from your vantage point. Share images from your changing cities. We look forward to seeing you online through our campaign to explore the local effects of our global changes.

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For press enquires, please contact Kristine Bjørge at kristine@worldphoto.org

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