In collaboration with Panos Pictures and the World Photography Organisation (WPO), Sony's Global Imaging Ambassadors (SGIA) present a nine-month social documentary initiative called FutureofCities. The project explores how cities around the world are evolving and coping with the large-scale migrations of people from suburban and rural areas into urban environments. 75% of the global population is projected to be living in cities by the middle of this century. Panos photographers have begun examining this change through topics such as urban farming, eco-housing, technological innovations, elastic environments, children at play, green spaces, economic divides and much more. Lianne Milton - 'The Big Pool'
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Piscinão de Ramos is an artificial beach and chlorinated swimming pool along the very polluted Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro's North Zone. Despite its popularity, the 'Big Pool' is controversial. Some residents believe it was built to keep them from the luxurious south zone beaches. The pool was build in 2001 after Guanabara Bay was declared too polluted to swim in and was meant to bring clean water to residents of the North Zone. It can attract up to 80,000 visitors over a single weekend.
Sanjit Das - 'Malaysia Boleh'
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Boleh means 'Can' and is often used in conjunction with Malaysia – 'Malaysia can'. Every city has its master plan, and Kuala Lumpur is no different. By 2020, Malaysia aspires for its premier city to attain the label of 'world class city'.
To achieve this many old buildings are being torn down and skyscrapers built in their stead. A web of wide highways, sometimes three levels high, connects the different parts of town. Residents are clinging onto the few green spaces left amidst the building boom and while the new public transport infrastructure is being promoted by the government, uptake is slow and not all parts of the city are covered. So, 'Malaysia Boleh'?
Guy Martin - 'Some Like It Hot'
There is a new wave of thinking: cities that 'play together - stay together'. A Playable City is described as one where people, hospitality and openness are key. They enable individuals to work together more easily in communities, take collective action more cohesively and produce significantly more creative and optimistic activities.
Bristol, coined as a Playable City, is at the forefront of this movement that puts people and play at the heart of the future city.
As well as creating a water-slide down one of its main high streets, and closing streets for children to play out, Bristol recently hosted the UK's first 'Hot Tub Cinema' event. The evening encouraged perfect strangers to meet and share a movie while sitting together in an outdoor hot tub. These images are an attempt to explore the little moments and relationships that occur during this event, a playful 'human response to the coldness and anonymity of the urban environment' (Guardian). Little reflections, moments, details of the human form, awkward glances lit by the light from a classic film. Brits may have a reputation for prudishness, but based on this evening, we seem to be developing a more 'Scandinavian' approach to sharing our intimate space with others.
To view more work, please go to the Sony Global Imaging Ambassadors page HERE