21st Century Towns


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21st Century Towns

  1. 1. 21st Century Towns Mobilising for change Fostering Resilience Place Identity and Character Built Heritage Life between Buildings Creativity and Culture Sustainable EconomiesA presentation to Carlow Town Council on the town centre design workshop co-ordinated by Icecream Architecture and Meme Architecture & Design in October2011 and the resultant report prepared by Icecream Architecture.Emma GeogheganMeme Architecture & Design, Carlow www.meme.ie
  2. 2. Place Matters A creative design charette withDate: Carlow Town Centre Traders Association19th October As part of the nationwide travelling ‘Architectural Circus’Time: project, a creative community workshop exploring the5.30 pm - 8.30 pm latent potential of the everyday spaces and places of the town centre, will happen in Carlow during October.Venue: The workshop will be an open inclusive event to seekReddys, Tullow St, local views and arrive at ideas through discussion, collaboration and creativity.Carlow Every place matters, and the intention of this workshop is to foster and encourage a critical awareness of what makes a successful place. At the heart of any successful response to the challenges facing our town centres must be a recognition of the uniqueness of place and that distinctive places are created and shaped by those who use them. Examples of strategies adopted in other towns will be discussed and explored. This is an opportunity to collaboratively ‘map’ the assets of Carlow town centre and discuss shared aspirations for it as a place to live and work. At this stage we are seeking interested parties to get involved in order to achieve the most from this event. For more details contact Des at des@icecreamarchitecture. com or Emma at emma@meme.ie and 087 9601135 www.meme.ie
  3. 3. Carlow Historic Core Carlow 1948 www.meme.ie
  4. 4. Carlow 2012 www.meme.ie
  5. 5. www.meme.ie
  6. 6. Identity Identity Connectivity Public Realm Trading Realm “once you get to Carlow Process it’s attractive to stay here compared with other towns, but active marketing about Carlow could improve its image” It was agreed that Carlow has long been regarded as a market town, to which inhabitants from the surrounding area would come in order to trade and socialize. The central heart of the town has been Tullow St with a focus of trade surrounding the Potato Market. Traditionally the town centre was dominated by family run business’ that lived closeby and offered local products and services. Today, the town centre hosts very few local residents, with the majority of those being ageing or elderly. Many traders believe Carlow’s town-centre has become a ‘night-spot’ that caters more for socializing than a trading clientele. The shift from trade to leisure offerings in the centre of town was a cause for concern for some participants who felt that the centre needed to maintain a mix of qualities. The town centre should be known for its local trade whilst also offering a dynamic area for various leisure opportunities. The Farmers Market (left) and the diversity of shops and leisure venues (right) are positive influences on the vibrancy of Carlow’s Identity The group agreed that Carlow is regarded as a safe town in which visitors who find it attractive are encouraged to stay. There was believed to be a healthy balance between localised comfort and outward thinking among inhabitants. Carlow needs to promote the positives that exist within the town. Aspirations and progressive ideas need to be collated into an identifiable direction that is actioned by a collaboration of governance, town traders, residents, students and college staff, community groups, local creatives and tradespeople. www.meme.ie
  7. 7. ACTION FOR MARKET TOWNS www.towns.org.uk www.meme.ie
  8. 8. Diversity matters for local economic resilience. Locally rooted, independentretailers relate differently to the communities they serve. In economicterms, more of the money spent in them is liable to stay and re-circulatein the local area. They are more likely to support other local businessestoo, rather than procuring the goods and services they need from otherremote national and international suppliers. In difficult times, locally rootedstores are also more likely to go to greater lengths to remain open, doingwhatever they can to keep trading. (NEF, Re-imagining our High Streets) www.meme.ie
  9. 9. www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk www.meme.ie
  10. 10. www.meme.ie
  11. 11. Connectivity 10m 50m 100m www.meme.ie
  12. 12. Public Realm “If you asked people twenty years ago why they came into the city, they would have said it was to shop. But if you ask them today, they would say it was because they wanted to go into town” Jan Gehl www.meme.ie
  13. 13. Trading Realm “Carlow needs to physically unify all its trading areas and then signpost and enliven the routes between them” With the opening of Carlow Shopping Centre and most recently the Fairgreen Shopping Centre in 2003; trade has expanded beyond the initial town centre district of Tullow St, Kennedy Avenue and the Potato Market. This expansion and the availability of accessible parking has created a shift in trading activity towards the shopping centre and has had a knock on effect on the vibrancy and appeal of the traditional trading areas. In order to encourage an integrated consumer experience that promotes a cohesive trading realm; shopping routes need to be encouraged between the main nodal points of trade. Signage and guided routes should direct shoppers between these areas and dormant spaces that disjoint these paths should be enlivened to create a progression from one space to the next. The trading area has grown and shifted from the town centre without cohesive planning. The shopping centres (below) and main streets (above) should compliment each others individuality www.meme.ie
  14. 14. 06 { The 100 best towns and cities in Ireland } MEDIA PARTNERS RETAIL PARTNERS The MEDIA PARTNERS RETAIL PARTNERSIreland’s Top 25 towns The results are in With the results Town / City County Total Total Citizen Citizen Stakeholder Stakeholder A closer look in from the Retail Score Rank Score (%) Rank Score (%) Rank With a total score of 85.61 per cent, Westport finished top of the Retail Excellence Excellence Ireland Westport Killarney Mayo Kerry 85.61% 84.58% 1 2 87.62% 87.89% 2 1 80.93% 76.84% 2 8 Ireland (REI) ‘100 Best Towns and Cities in Ireland’ survey. But what is it about the ‘100 Best Towns Swords Ashbourne Dublin Meath 83.92% 82.28% 3 4 85.21% 84.58% 3 4 80.91% 76.89% 3 7 Co Mayo town that makes it so special? Citizens and stakeholders of each town and and Cities in Ireland’ Dungarvan Carrickmacross Waterford Monaghan 80.40% 80.10% 5 6 81.77% 78.36% 5 11 77.20% 84.15% 6 1 city were asked to take part in a survey. In the survey they were requested to rate survey, Westport Clonakilty Malahide Cork Dublin 79.31% 78.07% 7 8 78.90% 79.11% 10 9 80.25% 75.65% 4 10 their town or city by variables from one to five (one meaning strongly disagreeing was handed the title Best towns and cities in Ireland Skerries Dublin 78.06% 9 79.27% 7 75.25% 12 with the question asked and five meaning Listowel Kerry 77.55% 10 79.15% 8 73.82% 13 strongly agreeing with it). Amongst the of Ireland’s best Kilkenny City Castleknock Kilkenny Dublin 76.54% 76.50% 11 12 75.24% 77.76% 15 12 79.59% 73.57% 5 14 variables under focus were car parking, presentation, safety and town identity. town. But what Tramore Galway City Waterford Galway 75.06% 75.02% 13 14 80.51% 77.31% 6 14 62.33% 69.69% 58 19 When the results came in, REI turned the average response into a percentage. In other makes Westport Tullamore Wexford Offaly Wexford 74.48% 74.04% 15 16 77.63% 73.40% 13 21 67.13% 75.54% 35 11 words; 100 per cent indicates a total yes for a question and zero per cent indicates a total different and how Ratoath CarrickonShan. Meath Leitrim 73.99% 73.00% 17 18 72.98% 74.17% 23 18 76.34% 70.27% 9 17 no. In that context, Westport’s 85.61 per cent is a very positive overall response indeed. did REI arrive at Cobh Kinsale Cork Cork 71.80% 71.45% 19 20 74.06% 72.75% 19 24 66.52% 68.43% 43 25 their decision? Monaghan Midleton Monaghan Cork 71.34% 71.21% 21 22 74.38% 72.53% 17 26 64.24% 68.13% 50 27 Key Questions Cork City Cork 70.78% 23 72.08% 27 67.74% 30 1 Is there an abundant number of Letterkenny Donegal 70.77% 24 73.41% 20 64.61% 48 car parking spaces available? Carlow Carlow 70.47% 25 74.38% 16 61.33% 65 2 Is car parking competitively priced? 3 Has the town/city a unique and Understanding the results Retail attractive streetscape? Each of the Top 25 towns benefits from a The survey made some very interesting balanced retail mix of multiple retailers. discoveries. Firstly, it found that dining 4 Is this town/city well presented This drives footfall to the town. They also and entertainment play an important role and maintained? benefit from independent retailers which in any town or city, especially for male give the town character and personality. customers. It also showed that customers 5 Has this town/city a large number of Crucially, each town scored highly in plan their shopping trips from home more quality retail stores to choose from? important ‘peace of mind’ aspects such as than from their place of work or education. safety, security and family friendliness. Mature customers are more engaged 6 Has this town/city a large number of Many of the Top 25 towns have also with the streetscape and presentation quality restaurants & pubs to choose from? competed successfully in the Tidy than their younger counterparts, while Towns competition, something which citizens living in commuter towns are less 7 Is there a lot to do and see generally demonstrates that there is a engaged with their town centre. Due to in this town/city? collaborative spirit within the town. this lack of engagement the report claims None of the towns have been exposed that customers in commuter towns are less 8 Do you feel safe and secure when to significant out-of-town planning, likely to shop and dine in their town. you visit this town/city? thus much of the commercial activity The report has also found that promotional is confined to the town centre. and event-based activity will drive local 9 Is this town/city family friendly? citizens to visit provincial towns and Understanding the data cities. Such activity will have far less effect 10 Is this town/city my first choice There were many key factors which in commuter and suburban towns. destination for shopping? determined why each of the Top 25 towns were a cut above the rest. The report Car parking 11 Is this town/city my first choice has found that with the exception of Car parking availability and price is an destination for dining & entertainment? Visit where you live, the fundamental driver important determinant of a town visit, e.ie of customers to a town is the standard especially for those travelling 11-20km. 12 Are there many events and promotions xcellenc of the mix of retail units there. Frequent shoppers rate car parking w.retaile I Town being run in this town/city? availability as an important factor inww The report outlined a he RE their choice of town, while less frequent 13 Does this town/city have a to read t nagement shoppers (once every two weeks) rate car unique and positive image? ity Ma number of key factors parking price as an important determinant. and C rk Middle-aged people are most engaged Understanding Framewo Safety with the subjects of car parking price and The survey found that suburban towns are viewed by citizens as the safest places to availability as, on average, they’re more car- dependant than younger and older citizens. the Data live. Provincial towns rated second while Customers in provincial towns are n The national town and city average commuter towns came third. REI notes more likely to visit that town if car n Town or city results www.meme.ie that it’s “not surprising to see that cities parking is reasonably priced, accessible have been rated as the most unsafe”. and if the standard of retailer is good.
  15. 15. Vacant Units Meanwhile Uses www.meme.ie
  16. 16. Process so far: - Consult with potential start-ups and organisations about who needs what to get started (left: Ideas Bakery) - Develop relationships with all relevant stakeholders - Secure an incubator space on the High Street (below: Empty Tax Office) - Crowd Fund Sourcing and Grant Applications - Engage with existing businesses to include their support, resources and knowledgeAims:- Develop an incubator hub for start-upbusinesses- Broker high-street spaces for temporarytrading with support and incentives- Create studio spaces for creative industries- Provide signposting to business support anddevelop mentor scheme- Develop a showcase of Stirling’s produce fortourists and potential investors www.meme.ie
  17. 17. Process: - Seed funding (£5k) from Council - Negotiated peppercorn rent from landlord - Rates covered by Council through C.I.C. - Garnered donated support from local businesses (plumbing,electrical,signage,supply of wood) - Open call for participants who paid nominal rent - Artist’s manned the shop - Icecream Architecture delivered facilitatory roleOutcomes:- Initial pop-up shop is now permanent- Reuse of empty shop unit- Brought creative community together- Provided a platform for retail of artist’s work www.meme.ie
  18. 18. “small interventions should encourageProcess Westport - Town Architect, Community Groups change; with concerts and family events to promote a sense of community in the town centre” There was acceptance that Carlow has been expanding for the past 20 years and that now, with uncertain growth in the near future, there is an essential op- portunity to set down a direction for the coming 5-15 years. The many commu- nities of Carlow need to be brought together in order to develop an integral and considered plan that ensures the town continues to progress through economic Dundalk - Town Centre Manager difficulties. BID/Autonomous Kinsale - Transition Town “Carlow as a whole, needs to come to- gether and create aspirations, progressive ideas and forward thinking proposals” This planning process should coincide with a simultaneous schedule of events Stirling - Community Interest Corporation CIC that encourage signs of life within the town. The ongoing plan and milestones should be reflected through these events and in turn the milestones can act as a benchmark to ascertain the successes and challenges of the overall process. “there should be increased dialogue and communication between the Town Council, the Traders Group and other community Ambitions for the Process bodies” - communication is constant between governance and community The process of change implementation was discussed in detail during the work- bodies shop. It was felt that a fully democratic and inclusive process of participatory consultation should be developed between the Local Authority and all who care - a cohesion strategy and framework has been produced to guide about the future success of the town. It was felt that perhaps local interest development groups, such as the Town Traders should be more proactive in making pro- posals for change. This may assist in developing a progressive and forward thinking dialogue between these parties. It was felt that the Town Council could - Carlow’s identity has evolved from small interventions involving articulate whether there is a plan or aspiration for the future identity of Carlow strengthened relationships and incremental community driven needs Centre and Tullow Street in particular. While the scale of the challenge appears daunting and the current economic context prohibitive, it was acknowledged that small scale incremental changes and interventions could have a very positive effect on the character and identity of the town. www.meme.ie
  19. 19. Critical Success Factors for successful towns*Building on local comparative advantagesPromoting a sense of place (history, culture, and regional cultural landscapes)Promoting rhythm and seasonalityPromoting local productsPromoting outdoor activityPromoting third places - social life of the townTaking care of the physical fabric of the town (including conservation measures, improving pedestrian access, establishingopen green spaces with more trees, fewer hard surfaces, and consolidation of cars and parking)Promoting eco-friendly behaviours and investing in environmentally sensible infrastructureBeing attentive to the needs of locals and newcomers and visitorsFinding sustainable ways to make long term investments in the community’s social, economic and environmentalinfrastructure* Heike Mayer, Paul Knox (Small Town Sustainability, Economic, Social and Environmental Innovation) www.meme.ie