City Stories unveiled at the opening of the Crystal

The Crystal

‘’I’m not a scientist, I’m a storyteller, that’s why I don’t go out and do talks on climate change. I got involved with ‘City Stories’ because it was about storytelling’’.

Those were the words of acclaimed and Academy award-winning US film director, Davis Guggenheim. Guggenheim was in London to unveil the winners of ‘City Stories’, a short film project where he mentored young filmmakers across the globe to project their visions about sustainability and the future challenges their communities face.

‘City Stories’ is a Siemens project and was a part of the three day launch of the Crystal, a Siemens Initiative. The Crystal is a carbon neutral development in Newham, east London. It’s situated just an eye drop away from the Olympic Park in what will be known as the Green Enterprise District. The Crystal is delivering the latest in sustainable architecture and design with the aim of showcasing ideas for the cities of tomorrow and officially opened to the public on Saturday 29th November. Apart from serving as the worlds largest exhibition dedicated to the future of the worlds cities, it also serves as conference center, an urban dialogue platform and a technology and innovation centre. It has received BREEAM and LEED top scores.

The Crystal illumination light show at launch party.

No fossil fuels are burned in the running of the building and The Crystal is using solar power ground source heat pumps along with efficient LED lightning and rain water harvesting for reuse and recycling. Chief executive of Siemens AG, Peter Löscher said at the launch: ‘’Cities are the engines of the world economy and also have the greatest impact on the environment. The development of our planet will stand or fall with the development of cities’’. London Mayor, Boris Johnson added: ‘’The Futuristic Crystal is a fantastic new landmark for London. Siemens £30 million investment is a great boost to our ambitious plans to redevelop swatches of former industrial land in order to bring jobs to the capital’’.


Guggenheim faced much tougher decisions that he anticipated when he, along with the rest of the panel, had to pick four winners out of the participants who had been invited by Siemens. The filmmakers were selected from film schools across the world. Among the films were Daniel Jameison’s ‘’A city with two voices’’ which tells a story of a divided Sydney, with one side being the green and sustainability of the city and projects outlined for the future, the other side telling the issue of climate skepticism which is unfortunately dogging the whole of Australia. Daniel told me after accepting the award about the challenges that Australia faces, the big diversion on the issue of the climate, and why he as a young filmmaker think it’s so important to tell these stories.

Daniel with his award.

All the entries and introduction about the project can be found on Siemens youtube channel. So what’s next for Guggenheim,  the director of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, was asked at an the Crystal ‘City Stories’ QA. He  hinted that it’s possible you could see him connected with a film about sustainability soon.

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