A Visit to the Gorbals, Glasgow

2 06 2011
 

By Scott Gibson

During a trip to Scotland in my Easter break, I drove over to Glasgow to look at an example of the development of a neighbourhood centre as part of my supermarket led regeneration design thesis.  My decision to go there was influenced by the project being referred to in a study on retailing, sustainability and regeneration as a good example of a design led development.

The Crown Street Regeneration Project is based on a masterplan produced in the 1990s to redevelop a former area of social housing which was unaffectionately  referred to by locals as the ‘dampies’.   The key features of the masterplan was for new development to be based on traditional tenement blocks, enclosing private communal gardens and to include retail, community facilities, a hotel and business premises.  One of the key objectives was to introduce a traditional street pattern with new retail units, including a supermarket, fronting onto a ‘high street’ (which is actually Crown Street itself).  The housing by its nature of being developed in tenement blocks would create a density high enough to support these facilities, whilst the mix of uses would create the diversity necessary to attract new people to this area.

Unfortunately my vision of seeing a supermarket, nicely designed and integrated within a high street  environment was horribly dashed when I arrived to see a ‘box’, albeit one which had some other retail units along the Crown Street frontage.  The rest of the development has blank walls to the side and an empty car park, service bay and rear entrance in the space between the development and adjacent major road.  Thankfully, other retail units had been integrated well into new housing blocks facing Crown Street.  Since I returned, further reading has allowed me to discover that the masterplan had planned for a supermarket with a rooftop car park to give the height and scale to Crown Street in a similar way to its tenement block counterparts.  Unfortunately, the good intentions of the mastreplan were sacrificed to attract developer interest and this highlights the importance of ensuring that a masterplan can be delivered after it is produced.

The Co-op, Gorbals, Glasgow, facing Crown Street

Unattractive Rear Entrance and Service Area

Smaller retail units have been integrated well within new tenement style housing blocks

References:
 
Carley, M., Kirk, K. and MacIntosh, S. (2001) Retailing, Sustainability and Neighbourhood Regeneration, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
 
Tiesdell, S and MacFarlane, G. (2007) ‘The Part and the Whole: Implementing Masterplans in Glasgow’s New Gorbals’, Journal of Urban Design, 12(3), 407-433
 




Home Sweet Home: A Tool for Community Participation?

2 06 2011

By Lizzie Bird

After being enchanted by the Pop-up book PopVille see PopVille: The Pop Out City while doing some research for my design thesis I came across a project by Subject to Change http://www.subjecttochange.org.uk/ called home sweet home – this link takes you to the interactive website.  home sweet home is an installation show where each individual audience member has the opportunity to choose a house to personalise and become part of a perfectly formed, miniature, cardboard community.  The development has a number of services to help individuals settle in, including Local FM Radio Station, a postal service, a notice board, and a local council.  Neighbours can introduce themselves and explore their community as it develops. They can make decisions on street names and other community issues.  When the community is complete a street party is held. This is when residents socialise together before taking their miniature house back to their own life sized home.   

Subject for Change uses home sweet home as a vehicle for community consultation to enable testing of a wide range of complex issues – urban, architectural, social and environmental.      The project event was held at the London Festival of Architecture in 2008 and has since then toured the UK and further afield to America and Japan. Summer 2011 exhibitions are planned in Canada. See their gallery of projects. I thought it was an interesting idea – sort of big society on a small scale?!  

Follow this link to see a BBC News article on the Norwich 2010  Exhibition – there’s a good video of the project here which shows how the community developed over the festival period.





Ouseburn and the threat of over-gentrification.

2 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

The art-led regeneration in Ouseburn since the 1980s has transformed the former Victorian industrial district into a trendy and increasingly sought-after location for creative industries and young professionals. Capitalizing on this success, Newcastle City Council recently initiated a major development drive to greatly expand residential and business capacity to further its “Creative City” economic vision and boost middle-class city living.

Byker Bridge Housing Project on Foundry Lane

Byker Bridge Housing Project on Foundry Lane

However, many of Ouseburn’s artistic pioneers fear displacement from their studios and the loss of the area’s distinctive character as the area may become over-gentrified from Quayside. Recently, many proposals have been put into controversy as more and more private sector developers are focusing on one or two bedrooms flats for yuppies. Protectionists describe the consequence of the new strategy’s implementation as ‘regeneration frenzy’ which may lead to the loss of Ouseburn’s soul. Their anxiety is about ‘classic gentrification cycle’ with over-ambitious developer moving in and threatening the culture diversity of the Valley; consequently, the artists and the creative who brought the development in will get bought out.

How to take the opportunities for housing, business and leisure development without destroying the Ouseburn’s unique environment?





Play Now for a Green Tomorrow

1 06 2011

By Sarah Muscat

Browsing through a website, I was startled to read that SimCity is being used in educational curriculums! How can A GAME be considered as a good basis to the future of urban design and planning, even by universities?!

SCEPTIC about it, I started to search out for weak points in the game. Based on the realities of capitalist economies, surely it must be the environmental sector! I was wrong. The latest SimCity Societies is not just tackling the issue, but has worked with BP to provide realistic scenarios for the economic and environmental costs and benefits of different energy options…..to be used in THE GAME!

No wonder the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change opted for A GAME, ‘Create your MY 2050 World for the UK’, to engage people in the difficult choices that must be made for UK’s Energy Future! I DECIDED TO PLAY THE GAME! It’s fun and does highlight misconceptions and the inadequacy of certain measures to alternative options.

At the end I managed to reduce CO2 below the targeted 20%. Success means that your proposed scheme feeds into the UK’s energy debate ‘2050 Pathways Analysis’. So GO ON AND PLAY!

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/be-an-eco-sinner-or-saint-in-the-new-simcity/

http://my2050.decc.gov.uk/

Create your My 2050 World for the UK





Ouseburn walk – From a derelict place toward a creative quarter

1 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

The walk I took few weeks ago in order to search for a site for my dissertation thesis.

The area was home to the industrial revolution on the Tyneside in the late 18th century, and up until the 1960s it had a significant residential population, mainly workers from the industries nearby. At that time, it was a poor neighborhood surviving in very bad housing and health conditions. Thenceforth, the population greatly declined after the massive program of demolition and slum clearance. However, there are still plenty of warehouses, factories and seriously downgraded buildings, make the area looks like a neglected and derelict place.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Around the Ouseburn mouth and Lime Street, many regeneration projects bring a new look but still maintain the existing unique environment. The valley has become an attractive site for cultural industries and creative media businesses.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.


Ouseburn’s once derelict factories and warehouses are buzzing again as artists’ studios, music venues and cinemas.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.


Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575

Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575






PopVille: The Pop Up City

31 05 2011
 
By Lizzie Bird
 
 
Exploring Brussels, I think on the search for Belgium waffles, a few of us stumbled across a centre for children’s books Le Wolf. Inside I found a children’s pop-up book PopVille which I fell a little bit in love with.  As you are turn each page you build a pop-up city – see the video.  Each page in Popville corresponds to a moment of urban development – from an isolated church amongst the trees to a bustling metropolis packed with streets, factories and stations.  Just like any city some landscape references stay the same while others disappear to make way for new developments.  The unpredictability of what will be there when you turn the page is all part of the fun just like the spontaneity that exists when living in a city.
 
 
Over the past couple of years the impact of the recession, falling values, lack of demand for commercial space and tight funding conditions have meant there is a real possibility of development sites laying empty for a number of years.  An ever more popular solution to the increasing number of derelict sites seems to be exploring temporary uses in towns and cities.  A recent exhibition at New London Architecture, Pop Up City explored ideas for temporary improvements to the urban fabric as response to change in the city see more at NLA Pop Up City