Canary Island Commons


This website tells the history of the Canary Island Commons, a community of climate refugees who found shelter in the former Canary Wharf shopping complex, which rising water eventually turned into an island.

The Canaries, as they jokingly referred to themselves, turned the abandoned buildings into a self-sufficient community, complete with a garden and solar-powered electricity.

Most of what we know about the Commons comes from The 22nd Century Guide to Commoning, a pamphlet the Canaries wrote to instruct other climate refugees in setting up their own sustainable communities in abandoned locations along the new Thames waterfront, and journals of Sabina Masud. Sabina was eight when she arrived at the Canary Island Commons with her family and wrote consistently until her death at 50. Both documents were found on the site in 2180, during the renovations that transformed it into a hostel for boat-travellers. Sabina’s childhood “map” of the Canary Island Commons, which she made by altering an old map of the shopping complex, is reproduced below. Click for a larger copy.