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
 
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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?





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






Programmed Space

26 05 2011

Posted by Jun

Picadilly Garden, Manchester 2011

One day, during Easter, I was having coffee with some friends in a café in Picadilly Garden in Manchester. It was a cold evening and most of the passers-by seemed to have clear destinations, probably on their way home. However, the look of the people determined to walk as fast as possible was unusually impressive in the massive open space. It looked like that the space is arranged to show off how busy Manchester people are; and, if it was one of the intentions of the design, it looked very successful.

Picadilly Garden, 1955

And, the other day, I came across with this picture on the Internet which shows people resting on sun-bathing chairs in the old sunken garden in Picadilly before the regeneration. The contrast itself was quite impressive, however, what the most impressed me was the fact that it shows how well the programmed space (meticulously analyzed context and reorganized space programme such as area for resting and area for movement) can work, or dictate a kind of staged scene, although there is some evidence of conflict between the design and free-walkers as Rowland Byass, a landscape architect, noted.

I am linking a design appraisal by Rowland Byass. The context of this public space regeneration and the current use of people are well captured in his article.

http://rowlandbyass.co.uk/writing/piccadilly-gardens-jola-article/

 





Come Design With Me – Freight Depot Site

5 05 2011

By Scott Gibson

Home Group announced on its website that it has been selected, as part of Evolution Gateshead, to form a joint venture partnership with Gateshead Council to deliver homes across the Borough over the next 15-20 years.  The attached You Tube clip provides details of the proposal in a fun animation which neatly sums up its vision and objectives for delivering sustainable housing.

One of the 19 sites to be developed includes our Freight Depot and the article also comes with sneak preview of what it could have in mind for the site.

The Freight Depot Site according to Evolution Gateshead

Whilst the video provides a good and inspiring insight into the types of housing that will be delivered, it’s obvious going by the image that more needs to be done with the strategic site design.  In terms of features, the image seems to show an ambiguous huge cheese grater at the corner of Park Roadand St James Road.  Perhaps it’s a home for a new National Museum of Cheese Grating. It also has a Byker Wall inspired block adjacent to the Park Road flyover, as well as a wall of town housing adjacent toPark Road.  Other features include a landscaped wildlife park, very similar to our emerging proposal (a specific nod to our Dingy Skipper friend) and a community garden / allotment in the centre of the site.  Otherwise, underneath the funkiness the development seems to be based on a grid iron street pattern which makes no effort use the site’s potential as an urban stepping stone between the Baltic Business Quarter and Town Centre.  In this sense, nothing has been done to permeate the railway barrier.

Ok, it is a bit unfair to be too critical at this stage, as it is just a promotional image after all rather than a formal proposal (I hope!)  Otherwise, I would imagine such a project would not survive well, especially in a crit with Georgia and Mark, save perhaps for its sustainability credentials.  So I hope our hard work on the rest of the project will provide some inspiration for Evolution Gateshead when it comes to putting a detailed design together, especially in terms of layout and understanding the wider context.  As it stands it deserves a Come Design With Me score of 5.

Website Reference: http://www.homegroup.org.uk/news/Pages/BuildingGatesheadsFuture.aspx