Re-shaping Urban Spaces - Public Realm Briefing Paper

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A briefing paper in order to brief officers and members of the economic and social benefits that could be achieved by investing in high quality public realm in Scunthorpe Town Centre. Evidence was sourced from work that was carried out by the former RDA's for the North West (RENEW Northwest) and East Midlands (EMDA) about the economic benefits of investing in the public realm.

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Re-shaping Urban Spaces - Public Realm Briefing Paper

  1. 1. Reshaping Urban Spaces The economic benefits of investing in the public realm A briefing paper in order to brief officers and members of the economic and social benefits that could be achieved by investing in high quality public realm in Scunthorpe Town Centre Graeme Moore - NLC 17/3/2011
  2. 2. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 2 Delight Does it look good? Functionality Does it work? Introduction The purpose of this paper is to brief both officers and members on the benefits – both economic and social that can be realised when investing in a high quality public realm in order to revitalise Scunthorpe town centre. Scunthorpe itself is at a critical point, positioning itself as a sub-regional town and the services and shops that go with that status. From its industrial heyday of the 1960’s and 70’s to its decline in the 80’s and 90’s, Scunthorpe has been dominated by the steel industry, today it is poised to become a services and logistics hub. This may well mark a new chapter in the town centre’s journey from a dense industrial town, to today’s product of the brave new world of the 1960’s which has failed to deliver on its promises, and has become an unpopular and unattractive icon for Scunthorpe Scunthorpe as a town suffers from a poor and over-engineered public realm which does little to enhance the pedestrian / shopping experience in the town centre, yet there are many benefits that can be realised by embracing the principles of good design. Yet what is meant by the term ‘good design’. Going back to Vitruvius, good design is the combination of Functionality, Firmness and Delight. It is about being fit for purpose, durable, well built and pleasing to the mind and the eye. A good design will achieve a balance between these three factors. You can apply this at any scale – whether you are thinking about the layout of your kitchen, the rooms in your house or the layout of your neighbourhood. The rest of this report will state the economic case for investing in the public realm by using both local, regional and national examples of best practice and the benefits that have arisen. Firmness Will it last?
  3. 3. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 3 The Value of Good Design Information contained with the CABE publication ‘The Value of Good Design’ and ‘Paved with Gold – The Real Value of Street Design” also showed that on average, good quality commercial development can generate upto 4.9% higher rents than equivalent development that is considered poor, in combination with quality public realm improvement works. Changes to the public realm are more often than not the things that can bring real value to developments. However it is often the landscape and communal areas, the public realm, which is first affected by value engineering and decisions aimed at achieving cost savings. Developers may seek to reconsider their contributions in terms of such costs, for example, by designing their schemes or by seeking to renegotiate Section 106 agreements. If the development itself becomes marginal it follows that some design costs might be considered nonessential, for example anything outside of the red line or the setting to the building. Such cost and value reduction raises a very real threat to the overall urban design quality of many developments, particularly larger developments where essential infrastructure might not be considered affordable or selffunding. In the current challenging economic climate The threat of cheap/poor design Accepting development of a ‘poor’ or ‘substandard’ specification should be avoided at all costs. There can be no doubt that poor design will bring with it costs into the future. No one sets out to achieve bad development or poor design. Poor specification on the other hand might be an acceptable ‘evil’ to see the scheme delivered. Moving from a basic to a poor specification is not always black and white and not always easy to recognise. Thus, for the most challenging sites, the real skill will be achieving the best possible in terms of a basic or modest specification. Developments which are cheaply built and finished, because ‘that is all that can be afforded at the time’ can offer a false economy in that they may well fair much worse than competing schemes. Such developments run the risk of creating places where people who can, invest and consume elsewhere, preferring competitor schemes. Therefore it is considered that there is a coherent case for the investment in the public realm, in order to differentiate Scunthorpe from the surrounding markets, such as Doncaster, Grimsby and Lincoln. Added Value of Good Design in a Challenging Economic Climate In a report commissioned by the North West Regional Development Agency (RENEW NorthWest) about the economic benefits of good design a series of questions were asked of various market experts such as letting agents for commercial schemes. The importance of good design was highlighted in the responses received overall; the majority of respondents (68%) believed that good design was either very important or important. In terms of the impact of good design, more than 74% of agents that responded stated that good design adds economic value in terms of increased rents and capital values, the same response was given in relation to occupancy and take-up rates in that 74% of the agents contacted stated that good design would be a determining factor in attracting companies to an area. Finally in relation to the overall market attractiveness of an area 71% of the agents contacted stated that good design is very important in order for the market to be considered attractive, whilst 48% of the agents contacted stated that good design would be a very important factor in attracting funding or investment to an area. The Price of Quality The study showed that good design does not come free of charge. Better design can result in increased financial costs as well as added value. These costs may result from: • More challenging or complicated building layouts or massing • Increased specification of construction and finish materials • More sophisticated, novel or complex construction methods • Higher environmental standards and better environmental performance • Open spaces or streets within the scheme • Provision of more or better infrastructure • Increased time in the development process to get the design right • Cultural change as stakeholders in the private and public sectors leave their comfort zones.
  4. 4. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 4 Many of these additional costs will be more than offset over the lifetime of the development and will result in reduced costs for occupiers and the wider community. It is often the developer who is required to meet any extra costs upfront; however, there is the potential for these to be passed onto the occupiers. Thus, whilst good design is sometimes more costly in the short-term, it can pay off over the lifetime of the development through higher values and reduced operating costs. Costs of bad design If good design on occasion costs somewhat more, there are often far greater costs associated with bad design. The impact of bad design goes beyond the financial implications. Poorly designed development can also have a major detrimental impact on the lives of individuals and communities. It can de-motivate a workforce and can lead to development that is both inefficient and expensive to run over its projected lifespan. Thus negative costs are also passed on to the occupier – through higher maintenance and operating costs and lower productivity and quality of use. The same costs can also be reflected in a poorly designed and maintained public realm.
  5. 5. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 5 Why Invest in the Public Realm? Quality, vibrant public space forms a key component of any successful town or city centre. By improving layout, reducing the dominance of private vehicles and by making the centre more accessible, pedestrians feel more comfortable. Creating a distinctive environment helps to attract new footfall, provide a new sense of focus for the community and in turn create a platform for investment. Rolling out a programme of streetscape enhancements and improving levels of maintenance will help complete redevelopments already proposed and will encourage new investment. Investment in Grainger Town, Newcastle, Darlington in Teeside, Workington in Cumbria and Sheffield’s Heart of the City, has shown that public space enhancement can improve an area’s competitive position whilst enhancing its heritage value. There are literally thousands of other examples in Britain and of public space abroad where recent improvement has been effective. It is vital that Scunthorpe not only keeps up with but overtakes place rivals. In the increasingly competitive, connected world, where shopping on the internet and carrying out business does not have to take place in our centres, the experience of the place is even more crucial in attracting custom.
  6. 6. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 6 Comparison Studies In order to fully ascertain the benefits that investment in the public realm can provide it is considered pertinent to look at a number of case studies in town centres that can be compared to Scunthorpe in terms of population and market etc. Following on from that at a regional perspective it is considered important to study the example set by the city of Sheffield. In the following section of this paper there will be a short explanation of what has occurred in the places mentioned; and the costs and economic benefits that have accrued from in some cases relatively small amounts of money. Workington Workington is the seat of Allerdale Borough Council, which is one of three borough councils in Cumbria and has a population of around 45,975, making it the third largest urban area in Cumbria. Workington itself is former steel town, with the steelwork shutting in the late 1970’s which resulted in the town suffering from terminal decline, which was further compounded by the closer of Leyland bus factory in the 1990’s. In many ways the town of Workington was and is still similar to Scunthorpe. It was in early 2000 that RENEW Northwest and the North West RDA together with Allerdale Borough Council came together to develop a series of new urban spaces and public art works that were considered to be central to the revival of Workington town centre, which in turn would re-establish the town as a major shopping destination and acting as a catalyst for future growth in the area. From an initial investment of £2.74m of public funds more than £50m of private sector investment has been levered into the town centre, partly in the form of the Washington Square development. The Washington Square development replaced the run down St John's Arcade, built in the 1960 and 70s with a modern 275,000 sq ft retail-led mixed use complex. In 2007, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors named Washington Square as the 'best commercial project' in the north west of England. Their award acknowledged that "The Washington Square development has radically transformed Workington town centre. The development is a massive improvement on the 1960's town centre. The transformation is impressive and the development has succeeded in one of its main objectives in making Workington a major shopping destination within the region, attracting a number of major high street retailers to the town. In short it has changed the face of Workington." The square's designers Harrison's also won the Business Insider's Project of The Year (Retail/Leisure) award, because 'the Workington scheme has been transformational and Harrison deserves great credit for its bravery.' The judges felt that 'the challenge that was overcome in Workington was altogether greater than the other projects.' Among the centre's main attractions are a new Debenhams, Next, River Island, HMV and Costa Coffee Workington is considered to be a key example of a small town with big ambition, encouraging innovation and design excellence through public art to ‘rebrand’ the town and put it back on the proverbial map. Projects include ‘The Hub’ canopied outdoor performance space, with the first 3D sound system in the UK and a unique ambient ‘soundscape’ composed specifically for the town, and ‘the Lookout’, a mechanical, interactive town clock. Further information on Workington can be found in the attached appendices. Darlington Darlington is a town in County Durham, England, and the main population centre in the Borough of Darlington. Darlington has a resident population of 97,838 as of 1997. It was in 2001 that the council and One North East came together to develop a strategy to drastically improve the quality of the environment and the economic performance of the town centre by: • Achieving new development - bringing new retailers and businesses to the Centre enable Darlington to better compete with the rest of the region; • Making the Town Centre more attractive - increasing the ease, comfort and safety of which the Town Centre can be used will encourage more people to visit and to stay longer when they are here.
  7. 7. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 7 • It was considered vital to respond to improvements in competing shopping centres and out-of-town locations if Darlington town centre is to thrive and better serve people in its catchment area. The Town Centre Access Study (2001), which included a series of public consultation workshops undertaken by EDAW and Colin Buchanan & Partners, concluded with a recommendation to create a 'pedestrian heart' in Darlington town centre. The vision was that the Town Centre would be redesigned to mark out the Heart of Darlington by the creation of a series of high quality areas: • Acting as a hub for the economic health of the Town Centre; • Improving access and quality of life for all; • Reinforcing the distinctiveness of Darlington; • Acting as an icon for the renaissance of Darlington as a shopping, living and working destination in the region. In November 2002, the scheme to create the Pedestrian Heart was approved by the Council's Cabinet. Darlington Borough Council and One NorthEast, invested around £6.5 million into the Pedestrian Heart scheme. On the back of the £6.5m investment in the public realm a new retail development valued at £110m was proposed on site, the Commercial Street development proposed: • 22,100 square metres of retail shopping floor space over two floors, anchored by a department store; • 6,000 square metres of leisure floor space on the third floor, anchored by a 9-screen cinema and associated food and drink uses (2 other leisure uses unknown at present); • Winter Garden, a glazed atrium feature providing a café and public exhibition space at eastern end of development, adjacent to department store The Commercial Street development was finally signed off in late 2007, however before the development could be completed the UK recession put the development on hold. However, as of February 2010 the scheme was back on track and development was due to start in 2011. Sheffield Looking at our own region of Yorkshire & Humber, there is perhaps one significant project that can be shown amongst all others that shows the benefits of investing in the public realm and placemaking. Sheffield is the UK’s 5th largest city with a population of over 500,000. From its industrial heyday of the early to mid 1900’s, the city suffered from a series of factory closures in the late 1970’s and 1980’s which left the city in terminal decline. The City Centre itself suffered further damage with the opening of the Meadowhall shopping centre located next to the M1, to the point where by the late 1990’s the city centre was in danger of disappearing as a shopping destination. It was in 1997 that the City Council and the newly created RDA Yorkshire Forward came together to develop a strategy to renew the city and centre and restore its economic confidence so that it could prevent the leakage of shoppers to Manchester and Leeds. Together, ‘The Heart of the City’ scheme was first developed in 1997, initially as part of the Millenium celebrations it was proposed that the Peace Gardens located next to the existing town hall, be redeveloped – this was completed to great success in 1998 at a cost of £7.5m. Following on from the successful Peace Gardens redevelopment a City Centre Masterplan was produced, which proposed a series of interventions in the public realm, starting at the train station and leading into the City Centre. The works were as follows: • Sheaf Square and Howard Street (Sheffield Midland Station) – Project Value £23m • Millenium Galleries – Project Value £12.45m • Winter Gardens – Project Value - £5.5m • Millenium Square – Project Value - £3.3m • Tudor Square – Project Value - £4.1m • Town Hall Square & Surrey Street – Project Value - £3m • Barkers Pool – Project Value - £5.8m • Devonshire Green – Project Value - £1.5m
  8. 8. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 8 The sums of money are without doubt, considerable, but it is worthwhile considering the economic, social and environmental benefits that have arisen from an initial public investment of £55m. From 1997 to 2007 the GDP of Sheffield has grown by more than 61% from £5.6bn to £9.2bn – obviously this is not wholly on the back of the investment in the public realm in the city centre, however in the city centre itself the works to the public realm have leveraged more than £500m of private sector investment – principally in the stalled Sevonstone’s development by Hammerson plc. In a report commissioned by Yorkshire Forward on the benefits of investing in the public realm (which is yet to be published) the key findings in relation to Sheffield were that: • There is a 20-40% increase in retail footfall; • 10-25% increase in retail turnover; • 10-30% increase in retail rents; • 15-35% increase in office rents; and • Numerous other benefits, such as attracted and retention of knowledge workers, growing the tourism and cultural economy, levered private sector investment and a more general impact such as improving confidence in the City and an improved sense of quality of life. Conclusions There can be no doubt that there is a clear link between investment in the public realm and subsequent private sector investment in development, as the examples have shown. The paper is not suggesting for one moment that the council adopts a strategy on the scale of Sheffield, as city it has a unique status and circumstances that Scunthorpe cannot hope to replicate. However, when looking at the example set by Workington and Darlington, who invested £2.74m and £6m respectively and gains that they made, a similar expenditure could give rise to significant private sector investment. A full costing and programme of works would need to be carried out, however it should be investigated on what the impact would be of a 10% increase in footfall would have on the town centre. There is however a clear typology of economic benefits and impacts arising from improvements to the public realm, these being: • Attracting investment • Increasing land and property values • Attracting visitors • Increasing tourism • Improving productivity • Enhancing image Attracting Investment “Small businesses choosing a new business location rank open space, parks and recreation as a number one priority…" CABE (2004) suggest that businesses seeking a new location rate open space and parks as a key priority. In 2003, the Central London Partnership (CLP) and Transport for London (TfL) undertook a focused study that examined the economic benefits of walking and public realm improvements. The study included a series of interviews with people from a range of business sectors (landowners, developers, businesses). It highlighted that 85% of respondents identified the quality of the streetscape as important to the ability to attract customers or tenants. More specifically, in recognition of its economic value, all the landowners interviewed made significant investment in improving the quality of the street environment. In addition, interviews conducted with investors as part of a piece of work carried out by CABE and DETR revealed that environmental quality was seen as a key factor in occupier decision making. Further work by CABE Space explores how the civic and social value of urban green space can be translated in economic return – it highlights how investment in the pubic realm can not only attract businesses but also retain them. Similar conclusions have been drawn from the United States in respect of both parks and urban green space. Equally, research into locational decision making amongst environmental
  9. 9. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 9 businesses in the West Midlands has highlighted the importance of a good quality environment in attracting new businesses. Increasing Lane & Property Values "…Property prices in Emmen, Appledoorn and Leiden in the Netherlands have been measured in terms of their relationship with parks and neighbouring waterways – increases reached 11% in some cases…" It is difficult to accurately assess the direct contribution of the public realm but there is evidence to suggest that a high quality public realm contributes to adding value to land and property prices within an area. For example, CABE and the DETR (2001) suggest that rents in certain Belgravia Squares and the Orange Square (London) have increased following re-landscaping. In addition, a mixed use scheme at Castle Wharf, in Nottingham, has adopted high standards in hard landscaping and has improved connectivity to the surrounding areas. This has contributed to the site becoming a very popular development with rents that are now amongst the highest in Nottingham. Finally, occupiers at Barbirolli Square (Manchester), where high rents are achieved, were aware that "…you pay for what you get…" referring to better quality environments as well as to better quality buildings. Other research carried out in London also suggests that green space can have a positive impact on property prices. CABE (2004) also describes how a high quality public realm can have a positive impact on property prices. It cites examples such as Emmen, Appledoorn and Leiden in the Netherlands where property prices have been measured in terms of their relationship with parks and neighbouring waterways. In some cases, increases reached 11%. Even play areas and trees can help to increase land values. Berlin demonstrated a rise of 17% from tree planting in an area in 2000, and New York's Union Square stimulated private housing investment in 1985 and helped to stabilise adjacent commercial properties. Similar conclusions have been drawn from research in both the Netherlands and the United States. Attracting Visitors Work undertaken by the Scottish Executive highlights the role of a high quality public realm in attracting visitors and increasing retail and leisure spend. CABE (2004) also make a strong economic case for providing a higher quality public realm. They argue that people are more likely to want to shop in a well designed and more aesthetic environment. Coventry is cited as an example where urban design improvements including streetscape, signage and a civic square have increased footfall by 25% on Saturdays. In addition, consumers now have much higher demands and expectations and will subsequently seek a high quality environment in which to spend their leisure time (shopping, eating out etc). Therefore, urban areas need to provide an appealing offer in order to successfully compete for customers (residents, businesses, visitors) and subsequently contribute to economic growth. Similar conclusions have been drawn in respect of the importance of parks in attracting visitors. Increasing tourism "…Investment in the physical environment is critical for achieving economic growth and tourist development…" Tourism is particularly reliant on a high quality public realm in order to attract visitors. For example the Central London Partnership (2003) recognises that tourism is crucial to the economic success of London: in 2002, tourism in London accounted for over 28 million visitors which contributed some 4% to London's GDP. However, the sector is particularly sensitive to perceived changes in a location's attractiveness. As most visitors are likely to be on foot or public transport, the Partnership notes that the quality of the streetscape is critical in attracting visitors to London. As an example, riverside improvement strategies in the area around the London Eye have increased footfall tremendously and improvements to the streetscape have enabled economic growth in a much broader area around the London Eye. Research by The Pool of London Partnership, which seeks to provide high quality public realm through the enhancement of existing open spaces, also confirms that investment in the physical environment is critical for achieving economic growth and tourist development. Improving productivity "…Better designed environments beneficially impacted on the productivity and the health and satisfaction of the workforce…"
  10. 10. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 10 Work by CABE and DETR suggests that "…better designed environments beneficially impacted on the productivity and the health and satisfaction of the workforce…". For example, at Brindley Place (Birmingham) and Barbirolli Square (Manchester), "…the design of the surrounding environment was directly credited with increasing the productivity of the workforce, in large part due to the happier environment created…". Enhancing image "…A poor quality physical environment not only saps the self-esteem of local residents but can have a wider impact on undermining the confidence of others to commit to the area, be they prospective residents, businesses, developers or the local authority..." CABE suggest that there is recognition that a high quality public realm can help businesses build a good image and reputation which will provide a basis for growth. Earlier work by CABE (2001) draws a similar conclusion and finds that occupiers, particularly those with predominantly UK based businesses whose clients visited frequently, often rate prestige and image as important factors when choosing a place to locate. A high quality public realm can also create the impression of a prosperous area which businesses are keen to buy into. The fluidity and footloose nature of many business sectors means that they can relocate if the circumstances are not right. At one time, it was the transport infrastructure that was at the 'top of the agenda' for businesses but now this has shifted and there is an increasing demand for "…a more sophisticated and attractive cityscape…". Other research also highlights the positive role of a high quality environment in image making and urban regeneration. Next Steps • Consideration should be given to contacting Allerdale, Darlington Borough Council and Sheffield City Council in order to learn about the processes involved in creating and re-invigorating the public realm; • Further work to be done on understanding the possible benefits of investment in the public realm in relation to Scunthorpe (e.g. looking at what an uplift in terms of 10% would do in relation to rents, footfall etc.)
  11. 11. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 11 Appendix I Workington Town Centre
  12. 12. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 12 Workington is the seat of Allerdale Borough Council, which is one of three borough councils in Cumbria and has a population of around 45,975, making it the third largest urban area in Cumbria Town centre re-development In 2006, Washington Square, the new £50 million town shopping centre was opened. It replaced the run down St John's Arcade, built in the 1960 and 70s with a modern 275,000 sq ft retail-led mixed use complex. In 2007, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors named Washington Square as the 'best commercial project' in the north west of England. Their award acknowledged that "The Washington Square development has radically transformed Workington town centre. The development is a massive improvement on the 1960's town centre. The transformation is impressive and the development has succeeded in one of its main objectives in making Workington a major shopping destination within the region, attracting a number of major high street retailers to the town. In short it has changed the face of Workington." The square's designers Harrison's also won the Business Insider's Project of The Year (Retail/Leisure) award, because 'the Workington scheme has been transformational and Harrison deserves great credit for its bravery.' The judges felt that 'the challenge that was overcome in Workington was altogether greater than the other projects.' Among the centre's main attractions are a new Debenhams, Next, River Island, HMV and Costa Coffee. Public Art New pieces of public art have been installed in the town centre: • The Glass Canopies by Alexander Beleschenko • The Coastline by Simon Hitchens • The Hub by BASE Structures and Illustrious • The Grilles of the Central Car Park by Tom Lomax, St Patrick's Primary Schoo and Alan Dawson. • Central Way Public Toilets by Paul Scott and Robert Drake. • The Lookout Clock by Andy Plant.
  13. 13. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 13 The Glass Canopies Over eight hundred glass panels by Alexander Beleschenko form canopies outside town centre shops in Workington, making it one of the country's largest decorative glass projects. Inspired by the landscape and industry of the area, the canopies cover an area of over 1,200 square metres. About the artist Alexander Beleschenko makes large scale architectural glass works for commission and exhibition. His work can be seen in places including Southwark Underground Station in London, the Herz Jesu Kirche in Munich and St. John's College, Oxford Coastline The first completed public realm project, a new town square designed by Simon Hitchens called Coast Line, was opened in April 2006. The space is in one of the most prominent locations in the town and forms a focal point for visitors coming into Workington, whilst providing shoppers with an area to rest, meet and chat. Coast Line consists of twelve large sculptural seats carved and sawn from boulders of red granite locally quarried at Shap, with some seats featuring cast clear resin bases underneath. A four metre high polished granite and resin sculpture forms the centrepiece. Coast Line also incorporates a bike rack and a ‘leaning stone’. The area is paved in three colours of granite which delineate a map of the west Cumbrian coast. Blue pinpoint LED lights pick out the ‘Coast Line’, and red LED lights illuminate the underside of the granite and resin seats.
  14. 14. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 14 The Hub What is The Hub? The Hub is a new outdoor performance space at the heart of Workington town centre where the four new shopping malls meet. The area has a canopy overhead, incorporating lighting and state of the art 3D sound technology. The Hub's canopy, designed by BASE Structures in Bristol and is suspended from the surrounding buildings What does The Hub do? The Hub's 3D sound system can be configured to broadcast any live or recorded sound, Allerdale Borough Council are working in partnership with SoundWave as well as local performers and organisations to programme and create new work to be performed in the space in the future What is the best way to listen to The Hub? • In order to get the best listening experience to the 3D sound of the Hub stand in the centre of the space inside the benches • You will get different listening experiences around the space so try moving to see how the sound changes around you • The sound will be different if you are sitting on a bench as you will mainly hear what is being played out of the speaker below the bench you are sitting on rather than the complete 3D experience • As the sound is played towards the centre of the space listening outside of the circle of benches may not give you the best experience and you could struggle to hear many of the sounds at all • The soundscape being played is intended to be ambient; this means it should not be very loud and obvious but that the sounds are like any background sounds you might normally hear in a space. Please note that as the background noise levels at The Hub will vary depending on how many people are in the space, the louder the background noise the harder it will be to hear parts of the soundscape as it will blend in. If you want to hear the soundscape clearly try visiting The Hub while the space is quieter such as late afternoon.
  15. 15. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 15 The Grilles on Central Car Park The Jane Street façade of Workington’s new multi-storey car park is animated by twelve detailed ventilation grilles designed by Tom Lomax. The artist has worked closely with local company Alan Dawson Associates, who specialise in architectural metalwork, to produce the grilles using laser cutting techniques. Each grille, made of galvanised steel, measures 5 metres high by 2 metres wide. The designs are inspired by anagrams of the word ‘Workington’, which were the result of a special one-day artist’s workshop held for year 5 pupils at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Workington in March 2006. The students had previously researched car parking in Workington for a Geography project.The grilles will be illuminated by coloured lights to make the car park a creative feature of the town. Tom Lomax is a public artist based in London who has created works for the city centres of Birmingham and Leeds. He teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
  16. 16. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 16 Central Toilets Workington's new public toilets, on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, opened on Monday 13 November 2006. Fish from the Solway swim in a specially-designed tank in the communal entrance area, provided by the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport. Ceramic artist Paul Scott and writer Robert Drake were commissioned to collaborate on the design of visuals and text for the tiles and doors of the toilets, and have also influenced the colour scheme. Their innovative designs incorporate text and images relating to Workington’s history, location and provenance into the ceramic tiling scheme of the toilets. The colour scheme (coal black, steel grey and iron pink/red) was inspired by West Cumbrian wagon cards. The Water Cycle describes the journey of water to the site of the toilets and runs horizontally along the walls of the ladies and gents toilets. The History Line is a floor to ceiling text in the communal area near the toilets entrance. Each tile is based on a famous person, place or event linked with Workington and the design is based on the shape of old railway tickets. You Are Here….., which features on the back of toilet doors, above hand driers and in baby changing and disabled toilets, consists of facts relating to different Workingtons around the world. The toilets are staffed and managed by Allerdale Borough Council and open every day during shopping hours. The artwork for the toilets is one of several artists’ projects in Workington town centre funded by £2.74m from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and designed to improve public spaces in Workington. The projects have been managed by Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Regeneration in collaboration with Working pArts public art consultancy. Lookout Following the opening of Coast Line, located between the Washington Central Hotel and Debenhams, in April, the second major artwork to be installed in Workington is the town clock, Lookout. The clock was officially switched on by the Mayor of Allerdale on Saturday 1 July 2006.
  17. 17. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 17 Lookout is an interactive, mechanical clock designed by artist Andy Plant. The clock is situated on Ivison Lane, just off Pow Street, next to the NatWest bank. The clock’s minute hand has a camera at the end and rises into the air on the hour to give people a panoramic view of the town via viewing windows on the spherical body of the clock. The design of the clock is based on a ‘camera obscura’ - a darkened enclosure in which images of outside objects are projected through a small aperture or lens onto a facing surface. The new space also includes specially- designed seating made by Alan Dawson Associates as well as the three-dimensional clock, a hollow steel sphere 4.57 metres tall. Chimes have been composed by Matt Wand to play on the hour and on the half hour from the speakers built into the surrounding seating. The recordings use voices from interviews with local people set to music specially performed by Matt himself, Stainburn Steel Band and Dearham Brass Band. The art projects are all part of a £2.74m programme of improvements to the appearance of Workington town centre, funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
  18. 18. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 18 Appendix II Darlington Town Centre
  19. 19. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 19 Darlington Darlington is a town in the ceremonial county of County Durham, England, and the main population centre in the Borough of Darlington. Darlington has a resident population of 97,838 as of 1997 The New Look Town Centre Launch The Pedestrian Heart project was completed in June 2007 and was celebrated in style by the playing host to the 25th Anniversary Community Carnival. The launch day saw musicians, street entertainers, market traders, independent shops and thousands of people joining in the fun. Why was Change Needed? The Town Centre Development Strategy, adopted by the Council and One NorthEast in February 2001, aimed at achieving a distinct improvement in the quality of the environment and economy of the Town Centre by: • Achieving new development - bringing new retailers and businesses to the Centre enable Darlington to better compete with the rest of the region; • Making the Town Centre more attractive - increasing the ease, comfort and safety of which the Town Centre can be used will encourage more people to visit and to stay longer when they are here. • It was vital to respond to improvements in competing shopping centres and out-of-town locations if Darlington town centre is to thrive and better serve people in its catchment area. Study The Town Centre Access Study (2001), which included a series of public consultation workshops undertaken by EDAW and Colin Buchanan & Partners, concluded with a recommendation to create a 'pedestrian heart' in Darlington town centre. The vision was that the Town Centre would be redesigned to mark out the Heart of Darlington by the creation of a series of high quality areas: • Acting as a hub for the economic health of the Town Centre; • Improving access and quality of life for all; • Reinforcing the distinctiveness of Darlington; • Acting as an icon for the renaissance of Darlington as a shopping, living and working destination in the region. In November 2002, the scheme to create the Pedestrian Heart was approved by the Council's Cabinet. A team of consultants and DBC officers then carried out concept design & consultation, achieved necessary planning requirements, secured funding, completed early continued involvement and started construction on site. Design & Construction Team A team of consultants was appointed in October 2003 to work with Darlington Borough Council to develop the scheme and progress through detailed design and implementation. The design team was led by Gillespies, a UK based international practice of urban designers, landscape architects, planners and architects, who have worked on similar projects including Middlesbrough town centre and the award winning Buchanan Street, Royal Exchange Square, Candleriggs in Glasgow and Grainger Street in Newcastle. The artist, Michael Pinsky, was also commissioned to add a different perspective to the design process and promote further creativity and innovation. His ideas include the water cascade and Life Pulse. The contractor appointed to carry out the construction of the scheme were Birse CL, whom with the help of a small number of subcontractors carried out the construction works.
  20. 20. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 20 Traffic & Transport The flow of town centre traffic, including buses, taxis, cars and delivery vehicles, has been re-organised to achieve greater pedestrian priority, increasing the pedestrian area to include Prospect Place, West Row and Blackwellgate and open up views of the old Town Hall and covered market, which are two of the town's prime features. This increases the pedestrian flow to shops and businesses in this part of the town. Some of the extra space is used for activities and events, including specialist markets and street entertainment. Disabled access, safety and security is integrated into the design to provide a relaxed and inviting environment, which can be used by the whole community. The introduction of a one-way Town Centre loop allows frequent bus services to cater for shoppers in the Town Centre. A one-way southbound bus route along Northgate and Crown Street, from the St Cuthberts roundabout to the junction with East Street, is designed to reduce the volume of buses and ease traffic problems. The majority of buses enter the Town Centre via Northgate Roundabout and travel along Northgate, Crown Street and then on a one-way loop westbound along Priestgate, southbound along Prebend Row and eastbound along Tubwell Row, before exiting the Town Centre at Stonebridge Roundabout. Consultation Numerous consultations and discussions were held with key stakeholders such as retailers, bus operators and organisations such as Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) to help develop the scheme and progress the design. The preferred Pedestrian Heart concept scheme was unveiled to the public at a consultation exhibition held in July 2004, which was very well attended. All of the questionnaires and letters received from the consultation and exhibition were analysed collectively and where practical and feasible the scheme has been amended to reflect these comments and suggestions. Scheme design information has been issued to key stakeholders and special interest groups, such as English Heritage and Darlington Association of Disability (DAD). Meetings were also held with other stakeholder groups, such as taxi operators, indoor/outdoor market traders and emergency services. Scheme design and consultation exhibition information has been published within the Northern Echo, D&S Times, Darlington Town Crier and numerous professional magazines. Funding Darlington Borough Council and One NorthEast, the Development Agency for the North East, through the Tees Valley Partnership, invested around £6.5 million into the Pedestrian Heart scheme. Main Features of the Pedestrian Heart Scheme Overall design of the scheme uses the opportunity to return the High Row area to a simpler, less cluttered appearance, echoing its character up until the 20th century but in a modern and practicable way. To deal with the change in level from High Row to West Row and Prebend Row a single set of high quality steps runs the full length of the scheme. High quality surface materials have been used, primarily consisting of granite and Yorkshire sandstone in the new pedestrian space. The water cascade is situated at the centre of High Row and signifies the location of the market historically and the washing down of the streets at the end of the day. Uniquely constructed from red granite, to signify the blood from the meat market and being in a bar code design the appearance mirrors the planters. Life Pulse is another unique design feature designed by Dr Michael Pinsky. Located on Blackwellgate the installation is made up of modified lighting columns that are programmed to flash at the same rate as the visitors’ heart rate, creating ever-changing rhythms and patterns between the columns. To use the columns simply place
  21. 21. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 21 your hands on the sensors for 20-30 seconds while your heartbeat is registered then watch as the light continues to flash at the rhythm of your heart rate. An informal event space, named Joseph Pease Place, has been created at the northern end of High Row, enclosed by a large circular planter the space can be used for a variety of entertainment and performances. A series of raised granite planters have been incorporated within the steps. An avenue of trees and bold swathes of flowers planted within them help to ‘green’ and soften the pedestrian space. The planters also carry a barcode and are representative of the shopping era of our time. The barcodes on the planters act in the same way a normal barcode would and given a barcode reader large enough would reveal the Name of Piece, Date, Weight, Cost and County of Origin. New seating has also been positioned behind the planters on the repaved, pedestrianised, High Row. A contemporary ‘back to back’ design will provide users with a choice of views, out over the lower part of the centre or back onto bustling High Row. The newly-pedestrianised space on West Row has become available for use by the open market, which wraps around the indoor market, bringing the market into the heart of the town centre. High Row marks the site where a time capsule was buried during the construction works, the capsule contains work done by children from primary schools across the borough showing what life is like in Darlington in 2006 and what they expect it to be in 2106 when the capsule is opened.
  22. 22. Reshaping Urban SpacesDec. 15 22 Bibliography Documents used in the formulation of this paper: Urban Design Compendium 1 Urban Design Compendium 2 Public Places, Urban Spaces The Urban Design Handbook CABE – The Value of Good Design CABE – Building for Life CABE – Does Money Grow on Trees CABE – The Value Handbook CABE – Paved with Gold, The Real Value of Street Design Sheffield City Council – City Centre Masterplan Darlington Borough Council Website Allerdale Borough Council Website NWRDA/Renew NorthWest/Places Matter! – The economic value of good design in a recession Quality Streets: Why Good Walking Environments Matter for London's Economy, 2003, Central London Partnership How Smart Parks Investment Pays its Way, 2005, Ernst and Young and New Yorkers for Parks Economic Benefits of Open Space Index, 2001, Trust for Public Land Environmental Economy of the West Midlands, 2001, Advantage West Midlands Valuing Green Space, House Prices and Londoner's Priorities, 2003, GLA Economics The Value of Trees, Water and Open Space as Reflected in House Prices in the Netherlands, 2000, Luttik J The Impact of Parks and Open Space on Property Value and the Property Tax Base, 2001, Crompton J. L. A Literature Review of the Social, Economic and Environmental Impact of Architecture and Design, 2006, Scottish Executive Start with the Parks, 2005, CABE Space Public Realm Framework, 2004, Pool of London Partnership

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