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In May, Canary Wharf presents Streets of the World, a outdoor exhibition of 195 large photo prints dotted around the Canary Wharf estate.
The exhibition is based on the work of Dutch photographer Jeroen Swolfs who spent seven years travelling the world and photographing the street life of 195 capital cities.
Swolfs travelled through the continents of Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania to record life in cities around the globe.
One of the inspirations for the journey was to explore about what a street means to society, education, wisdom, youth, experience, happiness, stories, food and so much more.
Streets of the World has already been shown in Dubai and Amsterdam, the exhibition at Canary Wharf will be its UK premiere.
Over the last few years, we have kept a close eye on many of the developments taking place on the Island and Canary Wharf. One of the largest developments has been Wood Wharf which is considered one of the most ambitious urban regeneration projects in London.
Unlike the main part of Canary Wharf, Wood Wharf is being developed into a 23 acre site with 5m sq. ft of mixed use space. Built on the former docks site, it is envisaged that Wood Wharf will have one of the largest clusters of tech and creative businesses in the UK. Canary Wharf Group are hoping that this Hi Tech hub will bring 20,000 jobs to the region, generate £2bn gross value from new jobs and £199m into the local small business economy.
Canary Wharf Group have produced some computer generated impressions of the finished site that offer a view of Canary Wharf which will probably the final stage of large development in the near future.
The site will have open spaces, waterside walkways, running trails and more retail areas and will be designed to high sustainability standards. The development will be targeting zero-carbon and zero-waste and is being built to have a positive social impact on the local area and communities. 25 per cent of the 3,600 residential homes will be affordable housing.
Although the new development does not directly impinge on the Isle of Dogs, indirectly it will have a knock on affect will more people living and working in the area. The top of the Island has seen unprecedented amounts of development in recent years and that development is slowly encroaching towards the bottom. It is likely that the development of Wood Wharf will accelerate that process even further.
The 1980s and 1990s saw the development of one of the largest business districts in Europe, that development was not necessarily welcomed by many Island residents. However in last 30 years, the Island has changed considerably and many will view the Wood Wharf development as more of an extension of the Canary Wharf footprint. Lots of Islanders use Canary Wharf for shopping, attending the various events and the transport system and of course, many residents work on the Canary Wharf estate.
In the 1800, the Isle of Dogs was largely inhabited before the coming of the Docks, after the rise and fall of the docks, we now have the rise of Canary Wharf. So the only real constant for the Island is change but there are few areas in London that have been the site of so many large global concerns in a relatively short time.
The weather has been grey and miserable but there is light at the end of the tunnel in many different forms with the return of the Winter Lights Festival which features spectacular light installations and interactive art throughout Canary Wharf.
Abstract, Collectif Coin, Montgomery Square – France
Artists from across the world showcase installations that can be interactive, performance art or visual spectacles.Light technology has moved on in recent years and many of the sculptures and installations are created so the viewer can interact in some way.
Braving the cold, I went for a quick walk around some of the installations to give a quick preview what is on offer.
Sonic Light Bubble, Eness, Jubilee Plaza
This six-metre wide living, breathing installation pulsates with light and sound when you approach or touch it, emitting a warm glow through 236 programmed LEDs as it constantly generates new visual patterns to a unique soundtrack.
Halo, Venividimultiplex, Cabot Square
See Cabot Square in a new light as a giant Halo seems to levitate above the fountain creating a powerful light experience.
The Cube, Ottotto, Cubitt Steps
This exploded cube of light symbiotically bonds with the pedestrian bridge at the bottom of Cubitt Steps. During the day it is an intriguing black and white abstract skeleton, but from sunset the faces of this 3sqm cube reflect and frame the adjacent scenery
Apparatus Florius, Tom Dekyvere, Westferry Circus
Apparatus Florius will illuminate the trees of Westferry Circus with a multi-coloured light installation featuring giant geometric patterns that grow and intersect as you watch. The structure symbolises the instinctive flow of a plant, taking over the city in search of light to be able to expand and create natural space.
Intrude, Amanda Parer, Jubilee Park
Some huge inflatable white rabbits, illuminated in stark white light, have been invading festivals around the world. The seven metre high bunnies appear to be quite at home in Canary Wharf!
Some of the indoor installations to look out for.
On your Wavelength, Marcus Lyall, UK
Reflecting Holons, Michiel Martens & Jetske Visser, Netherlands
Future Fashion, Cutecircuit, UK
Appealing to families, young and the old, the Winter Lights Festival is free and will run from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 27th January 2018.
The best time to see most of the installations and light affects is after 5pm with the lights closing down at 10pm. If you need a warm drink or a bite to eat, there are plenty of options around the Canary Wharf estate.
It is safe to say that although Canary Wharf is often in the news, the rest of the Isle of Dogs is seldom the focus of national and international interest. However this always changes on the day of the London Marathon when the normally quiet streets are filled by thousands of runners and thousands of spectators.
The race tends to attract the world’s greatest men and women marathon runners and this year is no exception. 2015 champion Eliud Kipchoge takes on 2014 champion Wilson Kipsang when the two Kenyans head a strong field at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 24 April.
Kipchoge, Kipsang, Dennis Kimetto and Stanley Biwott head a strong Kenyan team in pursuit of Marathon glory and Rio 2016 Olympic places. The Kenyans will not have it all their own way with Ethiopia’s triple Olympic gold medallist, Kenenisa Bekele, and Eritrea’s hero from the Beijing World Championships, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie in the field.
In the women’s elite race, Tigist Tufa will return to the scene of her greatest triumph when she lines up to defend her Virgin Money London Marathon title. Mary Keitany was denied a third London Marathon victory last year and the Kenyan looks set to be Tufa’s main rival again in 2016. Dibaba, Cherono and Florence Kiplagat will also be in a strong field.
No fewer than 13 Britons are set to line up in the race with the hope of securing a place on Team GB’s For Rio. Londoner Scott Overall and Scot Callum Hawkins have already beaten the Olympic qualifying time and need to be in the first two Britons across the line to guarantee a ticket to South America.
Two unusual features of this year’s race is Tim Peake will be running the course in Space and a runner will cross the finish line in The Mall at the end of the Virgin Money London Marathon to become the millionth finisher in the history of the event.
However, for many people the race is a personal challenge and an opportunity to raise considerable amounts for their particular charities. The large number of fancy dress runners add to the carnival aspect of the race.
Due to the fact that many people may be unfamiliar with the Isle of Dogs I thought I would do a mini guide to the Isle of Dogs.
The race enters the Island at Mile 15 when it comes onto Westferry Road , this is a long road down the side of the west side of the Island. Lots of shops and a few pubs here and most of the spectators will be locals.
Just before Mile 16 you will pass the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre which leads into the Millwall Docks and is often filled with small yachts overlooked by the old cranes standing next to the dock.
The sweep around the bottom of the Island takes you near Island Gardens which has wonderful views of Greenwich and the river. Here is also the entrance and exit of the Greenwich foot tunnel.
Going up the East Ferry Road to mile 17 you will see the greenery of Millwall Park on the right and the Mudchute DLR on the left.
Just past Mudchute you will see the entrance to Mudchute Farm and Park ,one of the biggest inner city farms in Europe.
A little further on you have Asda on the right and Crossharbour DLR on the left, then the route takes you further up to Limeharbour adjacent to Millwall Dock and then onto Marsh Wall.
A short run down along Marsh Wall to South Quay DLR, is followed by a run past the International Hotel to mile 18, there is a quick switchback into the Canary Wharf estate for Mile 19.
Canary Wharf has become a popular watching base for many spectators due to its proximity to the transport system and the over 200 shop, bars and restaurants.
The race then goes out to Poplar to begin the long stretch home.
Some of the benefits of watching the Marathon on the Isle of Dogs is that you can actually watch in comfort rather than being part of the massive crowds in Greenwich and Tower Bridge. You also have easy access to the transport system and access to many pubs, bars and restaurants.
To make sure you are in the right place at the right time here is rough time guide .
The wheelchair race starts at 08.55 am
The elite women’s field: 9.15am
Elite men and mass start: 10.00am
At Mile 15 (Westferry)
Wheelchair men 09:46 Wheelchair women 09:55
Elite women 10:35 Elite men 11:11
Mass begins 11:21
At Mile 17 (Mudchute )
Approximate times when pass Mudchute
Wheelchairs 9:53 (men), 10:03 (women);
Elite women from 10:45
Elite men from 11:21
The masses from 12:26.
At Mile 19 (Canary Wharf)
Approximate times when pass Canary Wharf
Wheelchairs 10:03 (men), 10:11 (women);
Elite women from 10:56
Elite men from 11:30
The masses from 12:46.
When the tall ships arrived last September, Wood Wharf was a wonderful sight, full of ships and people. Fast forward, nearly a year later and we have a very different site. Construction has started on the development to broaden and extend the Canary Wharf Estate. The masterplan is to create a development with a mix of uses, providing over 3,200 new homes, nearly 2 million sq ft of commercial office space, and a further 335,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants and community uses.
However this is no ordinary site because part of the plans is to reclaiming part of the dock area by constructing a cofferdam. It is expected that 9000sqm of land will be reclaimed from West India Dock South, but this will only achieved by some major work on the cofferdam which will make it watertight to be drained and then filled in.
The cofferdam design features 160 tubular piles 1220mm in diameter socketed 10m into the dock bed. The tubular piles are up to 21m long and each pile is cased, drilled then installed into place below the water. In between the tubular piles sheet piles are installed to create a watertight retaining structure for the 10m head of water being held back.
This work has already began and the sight of large cranes on pontoons being transported around have become commonplace. Although The Wood Wharf project is a large project it does face a number of difficulties that makes it not one of the easiest development. For example access to the site is limited especially for lorries, therefore the constructors are bringing in materials by river where possible. There is also the problem of operating within a dock area which needs testing of dock walls and of silt in the dock. Lack of access means that cranes are taken around the site on large pontoons.The dock is still in use with shipping, so movement of equipment and barges and other marine vessels has to be cordinated with other users.
Sometimes we are so used to developments that we underestimate the difficulties that they sometimes have to overcome. The Wood Wharf project is a good opportunity to watch the different stages of development at close quaters, so if you are in the area over the next few months why not take a look.