Like life itself, the evolution of a town or city is greatly influenced by certain key moments—small changes that seem unassuming at first, but which completely revolutionize the course of the future. For example, something as small as a reliable road system makes it possible for people travel from one place to another. This makes it easier to establish a reliable trade system, which spurs the economy. The advances in the economy, in turn, allow the region to stabilize, which can ultimately alter political power structures. Roads also allow everyday citizens to travel easier, which increases marriages between individuals from other locals and, in so doing, increases the meeting and mingling of various cultures. This may result it a shift in the culture's social, religious, or political beliefs. Roads also make it easier to wage war or defend one's borders, as it is possible to quickly transport soldiers and armaments from where they currently are to where they are needed.

Ultimately, this is why the below video is so amazing. It helps us see how small changes revolutionized our world. This video uses thousands of historical records to depict the growth of London over the past two millennium. It begins (unsurprisingly) with the construction of the very first road networks. It also has captions that explain the developments and why (and in what ways) they were significant. The animation also visualizes (as enlarging yellow points) the position and number of statutorily protected buildings and structures built during each period (so you can see how many holdovers there are from each era, indeed, if any survived at all)

One of the best aspects of this video is that, by looking at where we have been, the video gives us a clear map of where we are likely heading.

So, what do you think London will look like in another 2000 years (assuming that there is any remnants of it at all)?

It was put together by the Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL, English Heritage, the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at Cambridge University and Museum of London Archaeology.

Share This Article