To mark the end of the year – as is now traditional on the blog – we asked people across The Futures Company, and former colleagues, to share something they’d found interesting this year. We’ll be publishing the responses on the blog between now and New Year’s Day.

Pen Stuart, on Berlin

street art cropped.jpg.590x440_q85_crop_upscaleWhen in Berlin earlier this year, I was interested to see how rapidly the bohemian atmosphere of this magnificent, but semi-crumbling city was changing. As the rest of Germany has become fed up with what they see as paying for Berliners’ extravagances, commercialisation of Berliner culture has ramped up. This ranges from the growing number of ‘underground Berlin’ tours to street art used for branding and advertising. Many despise how ‘mainstream’ this is making Berlin culture. This fear of re-integration into a mainstream is set to become a theme in many more markets as a  ‘lost generation’ of unemployed millennials is likely to feel disaffected from society, even if growth and employment return.

Louise Kennedy, on  Aldwych underground station

aldwych3I spent an evening in December visiting Aldwych Tube Station – one of London Underground’s famous disused stations. A rare opportunity for a fascinating glance at the history of the station that’s more colourful than first meets the eye. From its humble beginnings as a shuttle service to the rest of the Piccadilly, it became a prominent World War II shelter, the home of the Elgin Marbles for a short time (yes!) and in its latter years a set for blockbuster films. It was often used as a testbed for other stations to try out new tile designs and patterns, and even for advertisers to try out new adhesive for their 6 sheets! Even today, emergency services rehearse potential Tube-based disasters on its still functioning platform. It was an awesome tour topped off with a festive carol performance from the Tfl volunteer choir and a cup of mulled wine.

The picture of Berlin street art is from; the picture of Aldwych tube station is from the London Transport Museum. Both are used with thanks.


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