Special Study (ARC322) Author: Axel Grubba (Reg. No.: 140157068) Tutor: Dr. Jo Lintonbon Word count: 8217 (excluding pages with Roman numerals) Submission date: 24 April 2017
Acknowledgments Firstly, I would like to thank Dr Jo Lintonbon. As my dissertation tutor, Jo has been able to guide me patiently throughout the entire special study creation process and has provided me with much encouragement and enthusiasm. I am extremely grateful for this. Secondly, I would like to express my deep gratitude to my family and friends whose love, advice and unwavering support have been invaluable while researching and writing this study.
Abstract Every couple of decades or so, retailing undergoes some kind of disruption, and so does the city. A century and a half ago, the growth of big urban agglomerations and the rise of railroad transportation made the modern department store possible. Mass-produced automobiles made their appearance fifty years later, and shopping malls filled with numerous retailers were soon dotting the newly forming suburbia and competing with the city-centre based department stores created a few decades earlier.1 At present, we are witnessing a strong notion that shopping activity, after being carefully suburbanised, is again slowly â€˜going back to the rootsâ€™ - namely, city centres in which it is being tightly integrated into the urban fabric with notable redevelopment examples internationally, and in particular in the UK.2 The aim of this paper will be to understand the reason behind the current migration of shopping malls from suburban to urban centres, as well as to provide a critical investigation and evaluation of its broader impact on the modern cityscape.
1. Rigby, D. (2011). The Future of Shopping. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2011/12/the-future-ofshopping [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016]. 2. Koolhaas, R. (2001). Harvard Guide to Shopping. 1st ed. Berlin: Taschen, p.153.
Key terms and concepts Three key terms are used throughout the dissertation. The following definitions are provided in order to understand their meaning when used in the context of the study.
Retail-led developments: Retail, as explained by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale”.3 In the context of architecture, retail-led developments are commercial schemes serving multiple roles as cultural, social or public spaces in cities with the predominant purpose of maximising profits.4 Public space: Throughout the essay, the term ‘public space’ refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. The public realm might be represented in the form of plazas, squares, parks and connecting spaces. Such gathering spaces allow for civic participation, social mixing, recreation and create a sense of belonging; therefore, having a well-designed and maintained public space is critical to the health of any city.5 Urban Regeneration: In 1999, the landmark report ‘Towards an Urban Renaissance’, a study by Richard Rogers and a group called the Urban Task Force, was published. This text argued that city centre developments, after a period of inner-city decay and suburbanisation during the mid-20th century, needed to adopt a holistic regeneration approach encompassing public infrastructure, safety, job creation and management simultaneously. In addition, tax incentives and public funding should be available for the reinvention of urban spaces, and more should be done to forge partnerships between the citizens, local authorities and private sector, making the entire regeneration process increasingly oriented towards encouraging people to return to the city centres.6
3. Oxford Dictionary. (2017). Definition of retail. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries. com/definition/retail [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017]. 4. Changsup, S. and Carla Almeida, S. (2016). Urban Tourism: Placelessness and Placeness in Shopping Complexes. Tourism Travel and Research Association [online] 78, p.2. Available at: http://ttra.omnibooksonline.com/ polopoly_fs/1.6249.1369925245!/fileserver/ file/1093/filename/38.pdf [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017]. 5. Unesco.org. (2017). Inclusion Through Access to Public Space | United Nations. [online] Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/urban-development/migrants-inclusion-in-cities/good-practices/inclusion-through-access-to-public-space/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017]. 6. Rogers, R. (1999). Towards an Urban Renaissance. 1st ed. London: Routledge, p.26.
1 iii. v. vii.
Acknowledgements Abstract Key terms and concepts
Background to commerce in the urban context
Principles of the mall
Mall = City
SRQ - Gauging the effect of redevelopment on economy of a city
Retail scene in need of rescue
Attracting big business
Finding the right balance
SRQ - Gauging the effect of redevelopment on social behaviour
Centripetal migration and the repercussions thereof
Major projects and their share in creating major disparities
Changing the definition of public space
22 Context 26
Master plan analysis
Identified characteristics of a retail-led regeneration
SRQ - Gauging the effect of redevelopment on the urban fabric
Sheffield Retail Quarter Context
32 Background to regeneration of Sheffield 33
Previous revitalisation initiatives
Facets of commercial architecture
Social space interventions
Summary of Findings
60 Self-Reflection 62 66 68
Bibliography List of Illustrations Appendices
Introduction In recent years, there has been a shift in focus within the government towards an improvement of the public realm and city centre spaces across the UK. This type of development, due to its civic nature, encompasses far more than mere residential improvements, and its success or failure can affect us all.7 This dissertation will examine two major cities in England, namely Liverpool and Sheffield, both of which fell into decline in the post-war period but which are presently being regenerated within the framework of comprehensive retail-driven masterplans and under the stewardship of leading commercial architects and developers. By looking briefly at the existent ‘Liverpool One’ regeneration scheme, as well as via a more in-depth investigation of the currently proposed ‘Sheffield Retail Quarter’ development, this study aims to challenge these proposals by asking: What rationale lies behind these respective master plans? Why were they developed as they were? What lessons have been learned from past mistakes? What will be their impact on the future shape of the city? The intention is to discover the underlying reasons for the ‘migration’ of retail activities back to the city centre and to advance an understanding of the broader impact of these schemes on the urban built fabric. My research question is as follows: Why have retail-led developments become the new driving force for urban renewal, and how successful are they in rejuvenating the city centre? Essential questions such as the above must be addressed as the ‘second coming’ of the mall typology, re-branded under the banner of ‘urban renewal’, increasingly defines what happens in the contemporary centres of British cities today.
7. Smith, P. (1974). The Dynamics of Urbanism. 1st ed. London: Hutchinson Educational, p.227.
Approach In order to answer this research question, the study will involve a close examination of three fundamental pillars of Richard Rogers’ urban renaissance agenda, as well as the individual master plans for ‘Liverpool One’ and ‘Sheffield Retail Quarter’ in order to determine the effect that retail-led regeneration is having on the modern city centre. This dissertation will initially attempt to contextualise the changing relationship between commerce and the city over time, as well as to outline most important principles of shopping spaces and their role in place-making. Subsequently, using Liverpool’s inner-city shopping development as a brief case study, a few key characteristics of a modern retail-led regeneration scheme will be identified. Thereafter, drawing on the example of the scheme in Liverpool, this study will proceed to divide the characteristics into three categories based on the Urban Task Force Report, namely the economy, social behaviour and architectural identity, all of which are essential to any development.8 Each category will form a single chapter that will examine the previously identified characteristics in greater detail, based on the currently proposed regeneration scheme in Sheffield’s city centre. Finally, the information obtained from planning documents, local press articles, national statistics and existing secondary research materials, along with the results of my own critical analysis, will be synthesised to illustrate whether the currently proposed retail-led master plans are able to accelerate the regeneration of British cities and how the changes implemented might affect the thousands of people who use the city centres on a daily basis.
8. Rogers, R. (1999). Towards an Urban Renaissance. 1st ed. London: Routledge, p.32.
Figure 4 A timeline of changing relations between commerce and the city
City = Mall
”Merchants, more than any other group, had created the city” ~ Victor Gruen 9
The integration of human activities and commerce has a long history. The buying and selling of various goods are as old as mankind. However, the conditions under which the exchanges of goods take place have changed gradually over time (Figure 4).10 The condition of the greatest influence was the introduction of the middleman - the merchant - who turned barter into commerce. It was merchants’ job to carry work produced by others from place to place, and they became an integral part of urban life wherever they settled. From that point onwards, shopping has historically developed alongside, sustained, or aspired to the urban.
Figure 5 The vibrancy of commerce under the colonnades of Stoa
According to Jan Gehl, a city space has always served three vital functions: as a meeting place, a marketplace and a connection space.11 ‘As a meeting place, the city is the scene for the exchange of all types of social information. As a marketplace, city spaces have served as venues for the exchange of various goods and services. Finally, the city streets have provided the necessary connections among all the functions of the city. Therefore, the development of shopping places might be seen both as a social process and as an integral part of a city’s evolution.’12 Already in ancient Greece, the liveliness of the marketplace and the gravity of civic life coexisted, often in indistinguishable ways under the Colonnades of Stoa13, where merchants were selling their goods (Figure 5). In the 19th century Paris, arcades and the early department stores intensified the vibrancy of semi-public realm by introducing a previously unknown experience of the city.14
9. Wall, A. (2005). Victor Gruen: From Urban Shop to New City. 1st ed. Barcelona: Actar, p.19. 10. Watson, P. (2006). Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud. 1st ed. New York: Harper Perennial, p.Introduction. 11. Gehl, J. and Gemzøe, L. (2004). Public spaces, public life. 1st ed. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press & the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, p.3. 12. Koolhaas, R. (2001). Harvard Guide to Shopping. 1st ed. Berlin: Taschen, Introduction. 13. Stoa - in ancient Greek architecture, is a covered walkway or portico; commonly for public use, where merchants could sell their goods. Stoas usually surrounded the marketplaces of large cities. 14. Gruen, V. and Smith, L. (1960). Shopping Town USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, p.18.
Principles of the mall However, with the rapid growth of cities, population increase and widespread suburbanisation, designing for shopping purposes has become a complex process. Thus, following the Second World War, counter to the number of predecessors, shopping was firmly removed from the city centre and a new typology was born - the planned shopping centre.15 When Southdale Shopping Center (Figure 6), designed by Victor Gruen, opened in 1956, it was proclaimed to be the pioneer in the most exciting movement in urban development. The most important aspect for its success was the implementation of two of the basic principles mentioned in Gruen’s book ‘Shopping Towns USA’, which served as both the manifesto and as the benchmark for shopping mall design for decades.
Figure 6 Southdale Shopping Center in Edina, Minnesota, USA
The first principle was the introduction of a relatively simple plan called the ‘dumb-bell’, which consisted of a single internal shopping alley with two large ‘anchor stores’ at either end of the route acting as ‘magnets’. Spatial strategies such as the dumb-bell mainly served to manipulate the movements of the visitors (Figure 7). It was found that customers who came with the intention of shopping in one of the department stores would usually be persuaded to visit the other one also, and shop or look around the speciality stores on their way there.16
15. Beddington, N. (1982). Design for Shopping Centers. 1st ed. London: Butterworth Scientific, p.xi. 16. Jewell, N. (2001). The fall and rise of the British mall. The Journal of Architecture, 6(4), pp.317-378.
Figure 7 ‘Dumb-bell’ principle applied in Southdale Shopping Center
The second was the full enclosure of the pedestrian area, permitting complete control of the climate and internal design of the mall. It did not take long for tenants and management to discover the marketing benefits of the sheltered and pleasant environment, as people were inclined to stay longer, move about more and to regard shopping as a leisure-time activity.17 Shopping malls quickly became part of urban life, acting as multifunctional public spaces of the modern era and, despite on-going arguments concerning shopping malls’ urbanity and placelessness from the very beginning, shopping malls’ ‘‘city space qualities’’ cannot be denied. Sociologists have acknowledged Gruen’s significant role in creating what they call a ”third place”— safe, neutral public spaces outside of one’s home or work that, in Gruen’s words,
”…provides the needed place and opportunity for partici-
pation in modern community life that the ancient Greek Agora, the Medieval Market Place and Town Squares provided in the past. 18
Nevertheless, even though the suburban shopping mall was originally conceived of as operating as a surrogate urban centre, something went wrong along the way, and its presence quickly became a major factor in the decline of traditional city centres during the second half of the 20th century (Figure 8).
Figure 8 Gruen’s ‘amenities for urban living’ have turned into entertainment attractions such as amusement and water parks (Interior of ‘Mall of America’)
”It just didn’t work out. Not as we’d hoped. Not as it was
intended. The new malls have no community… The mall has become a monument to consumerism C not a community. Many of them are not even well designed. In a few years, they’ll be worse than the city streets they replaced. 19 ~Gruen
17. Bednar, M. (1989). Interior Pedestrian Places. 1st ed. New York: Whitney Library of Design, p.26. 18. Gruen, V. and Hardwick, J. (2003). Mall maker: Victor Gruen, architect of an American dream. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, p.24. 19. Quoted in Coady, J. (1987). The Concrete Dream: A Sociological Look at the Shopping Mall. 1st ed. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, p.683.
Mall = City In theory, the shopping mall offered the convenience, comfort and security that the city centre could not. If the mall thrived by removing the perceived threat of the urban realm, it also impinged upon the freedoms thereof.20 Therefore, the construction of suburban shopping malls suddenly ceased as Western (including the UK’s) development ideals have shifted towards a so-called ‘urban renaissance’ (Figure 9). Prompted by the substantial decline in the nation’s manufacturing base during the first Thatcher recession of 1979 – 82, there has been a wave of new local economic policies and major considerations of how British urban centres should be revitalised to their former vitality.21 In 1998, the year after coming to power, the Labour Government launched the Urban Task Force Group that has developed strategies, drawn on design examples from other cities in mainland Europe, which for various reasons, have enjoyed better functioning urban centres than the UK. This signaled that the way forward for the UK’s cities, was to encourage regeneration and create places where people can live, work and socialise in a pleasant environment.
20. Jewell, N. (2016). Bringing it Back Home: The Urbanization of the British Shopping Mall as the West Goes East. ARENA Journal of Architectural Research, 1(1), Introduction. 21. Lowe, M. (2005). The Regional Shopping Centre in the Inner City: A Study of Retail-led Urban Regeneration. Urban Studies, 42(3), pp.449-470. 22. A number of large out-of-town “regional malls” such as Meadowhall, Sheffield and the Trafford Centre, Manchester were built in the 1980s and 1990s, but planning regulations prohibit the construction of any more. Planning policy prioritises the development of existing town centres, and only when searches for central urban sites have been exhausted should edge of town sites, be considered. 23. Al, S. (2017). All under one roof: how malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian. com/cities/2017/mar/16/malls-cities-become-oneand-same [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
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However, this does not mean that commerce has neglected the opportunity to have its share in the regeneration of modern cities. In fact, after planning policy changes22 that encouraged shopping developments to be built in town centres due to their importance in bringing life and vitality into the sphere of ‘city living’, a new breed of shopping centres started to be integrated so seamlessly into the urban surroundings that it could be difficult to identify any boundary between city and mall whatsoever.23
Figure 9 Illustrative principles that support the final report of the Urban Task Force â€“ â€˜Towards an Urban Renaissanceâ€™; produced to explain, how facilities should be placed within walking distance and interconnected with rest of the city as well as to understand the density variations across the urban landscape.
Context One of the most prominent examples of a link between retail and urban regeneration is the existent ‘Project Paradise’, widely known as ‘Liverpool One’. Liverpool was one of the first cities in the UK to embrace the concept of social and economic problems possibly being linked to the spatial planning of the city centre, making Liverpool One the first major development to be driven by all the hard thinking on urban regeneration for which the ‘urban renaissance’ agenda stood.
Figure 11 Images of the 1941 bomb damage, when the majority of Paradise Street was destroyed in just a matter of days
When the destruction of an entire area of Paradise Street took place during the air raids of May 1941 (Figure 11), the once thriving city centre neighbourhood became affected by economic decline and suffered from decay.24 Commissioned by Liverpool City Council in 1999, a redevelopment scheme was aimed at regenerating a run-down section of the city using a commercially driven venture to put Liverpool back on the map of vibrant, first-class European cities. In 2003, the city was selected to be the 2008 European Capital of Culture, and a private sector developer, Grosvenor, agreed to invest £1 billion in the regeneration of Liverpool city centre the following year. In return for this £1 billion investment, the council granted the developer a 250-year lease on a 42-acre site (Figure 13), thus guaranteeing the developer a virtual freehold across a significant portion of the city centre.25 The combination of these two factors set a rapid physical transformation of the city in motion, concluding with the delivery of a seamlessly integrated, brand new urban district in 2008 (Figure 12).
Figure 12 Fragment of Liverpool One complex, presenting its integration with urban context
According to the Liverpool consumer research survey, the early results of the regeneration were already evident in 2009, with notable statistical achievements, such as26 :
24. Daramola-Martin, A. and Littlefield, D. (2009). Liverpool One: Remaking a City Centre. 1st ed. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, p.11.
• Liverpool moving from thirteenth to the sixth place in the rankings of prime shopping locations
25. Daramola-Martin, A. (2009). Liverpool One and the transformation of a city: Place branding, marketing and the catalytic effects of regeneration and culture on repositioning Liverpool. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 5(4), p.302.
• Ninety-one per cent of those who visited the city centre were likely to return
26. Daramola-Martin, A. (2009). Liverpool One and the transformation of a city: Place branding, marketing and the catalytic effects of regeneration and culture on repositioning Liverpool. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 5(4), p.310.
• Eighty-three per cent of those surveyed thought the city centre had improved significantly over the past five years.
Furthermore, as a more impartial sign of accomplishment, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) nominated the project for the 2009 Stirling Prize. Although not winning the award did not come as a surprise, it marked the first time that a master plan, rather than one particular building, has been put forward for such recognition.27
27. Waite, R. and Braidwood, E. (2017). Stirling Prize Video: Liverpool One. [online] Architects Journal. Available at: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/ home/stirling-prize-video-liverpool-one/5209267. article [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
This can lead us to ask â€˜What constitutes a typical retail-led development?â€™ as well as raising the question of whether this type of regeneration is actually as beneficial in reality as it is on paper.
Figure 13 Liverpool One development site in its context
Master plan analysis At first glance, two things are immediately evident. Firstly, contrary to traditional shopping malls, the design of Liverpool One clearly recognises that developments of this scale do not operate well as mono-functional enclaves. It can be observed that the development designed by architecture firm BDP has a highly mixed-use programme consisting of six distinct districts, combining retail, leisure and accommodation. On 42 acres spanning across 22 sites, one can find over 1.4 million square feet of retail space, 230,000 sq. ft. of leisure space and 25,000 sq. ft. of office space, as well as with two hotels, over 500 residential units and a public park.28 Secondly, the physical nature of the mall has benefited from a more delicate approach. Instead of simply dropping a shopping mall onto the site and destroying pre-existing street patterns, BDP extroverted the mall’s form, giving continuity to the city’s street network (Figure 15). Such design decisions allowed the mall to not only blend in with its immediate context, but also created a network of combined pedestrian circuits that encourage the flow between the existing and the newly regenerated parts of the city.29
Figure 15 Early sketches by BDP, presenting new development as a district of streets and squares rather than a mall
28. BDP (2009). Liverpool: Regeneration of a City Centre. [online] BDP, p.64. Available at: http:// www.bdp.com/globalassets/about/publications/ liverpool_one_book.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 29. Jewell, N. (2016). Bringing it Back Home: The Urbanization of the British Shopping Mall as the West Goes East. ARENA Journal of Architectural Research, 1(1), p.17. 30. Packard, V. (1962). The Hidden Persuaders. 1st ed. Penguin Books, Introduction. 31. Daramola-Martin, A. and Littlefield, D. (2009). Liverpool One: Remaking a City Centre. 1st ed. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, p.112.
Moreover, it is also worth noting that, although Liverpool One is a somewhat atypical development in comparison to traditional shopping malls from an architectural point of view, it follows similar, long-established key principles that have been implemented in other commercially focused objects in terms of its retail strategy. The intention of the master planners behind Liverpool One was to create the ‘hidden persuader’ triangle, whereby the three large anchor stores act as the main corners with smaller, more specialised shops in between to guide visitors through the space (Figure 17) - this concept was pioneered by the Bluewater shopping center in Kent, UK.30 In regeneration schemes on such a scale, the anchor stores are necessary to provide quality assurance and recognised brands that will attract people to the development. At the same time, the medium-sized and smaller, in between units are required to offer a more varied shopping experience that caters for all tastes and budgets.31
As important as satisfying the shopping needs of the visitors is providing them with a quality social space that will counterbalance the commercial feel represented by other key elements of the scheme. Such a place needs
to be open and accessible to all people, bringing vitality to space even when the shopping units are closed. In Liverpool One, this role is played by the park, which is located at the heart of the complex and serves as a central focus for people to mix, gather or simply orientate themselves along key sight lines (Figure 16). In addition, supplementary gathering spaces of various sizes can be found around the perimeter of the site, and are designed to act as crucial circulation nodes, providing an even spread of people across the area (Figure 17).32 Although not directly visible, there are some social transformations that accompany retail-led regeneration. One of the most important impacts of such developments is the process of significant job creation within the city centre. As a result of Liverpool One, the city has benefited from over a thousand new jobs during its construction, as well as several thousand after its completion. Due to their mixed-use nature and combination of retail and accommodation, such schemes take the lead in forming new, inner-city workplaces that lure people, particularly young professionals back to the cityâ€™s core, ultimately accelerating its growth over other parts of the city.33
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Figure 17 Mix of public spaces (2) and retail cores (1) across the site
Figure 16 Public park acting as the heart and gathering space of the project
32. BDP (2009). Liverpool: Regeneration of a City Centre. [online] BDP, p.100. Available at: http:// www.bdp.com/globalassets/about/publications/ liverpool_one_book.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 33. BDP (2009). Liverpool: Regeneration of a City Centre. [online] BDP, p.41. Available at: http://www. bdp.com/globalassets/about/publications/liverpool_one_book.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
Identified characteristics of a retail-led regeneration Based on the short case study of Liverpool One analysed above, a few key characteristics and influences of retail-led development can be identified. The main impacts can be summarised as follows:
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As the starting point for the master plan of Liverpool One was based on the background of the urban agenda and on Lord Rogers’ report, ‘Towards an Urban Renaissance’, it would certainly be a sensible choice to break down the identified impacts into the criteria categories set by the report. Hence, the decision to divide the findings into ‘three pillars of change’ that, according to the Urban Taskforce, are the driving forces of every successful regeneration project was made.34 It is important to understand that, although Liverpool One is somewhat of a ‘pioneer’ in major retail-led regeneration projects, what has occurred in Liverpool is already being replicated in other cities across the UK. Therefore, since Liverpool One is not an isolated case of regeneration, not all the benefits and negative aspects of such developments might be immediately apparent based on only one example. 34. Rogers, R. (1999). Towards an Urban Renaissance. 1st ed. London: Routledge, p.32.
As a result, in accordance with the initial findings based on Liverpool One, a broader analysis of another retail-led regeneration scheme will be conducted, providing the opportunity to devote more attention to each category of findings and discuss all the identified characteristics in greater detail in the following sections of the study.
Background to regeneration of Sheffield Following the example of ‘Liverpool One’, Sheffield, along with many other cities across Britain, decided to adopt a retail-led regeneration strategy in the hope of the cultural and economic revival of its city centre. That is how ‘The Sheffield Retail Quarter’ (henceforth referred as the SRQ) – a £480 million project involving a major re-design of the central part of the city came to life.
Figure 19 Location of Sheffield in the UK
Sheffield, located in South Yorkshire (Figure 19), is the UK’s fourth largest city, with a population of over 500,000 and, although the end of the 20th century has seen Sheffield emerge from the void left by decline, the city did not manage to mark its economic importance on the map of the UK. Despite having a population of just over half a million, Sheffield has never had the status of employment-generating regional capital, unlike other northern cities such as Manchester and Leeds. As City Councillor Tim Rippon stated:
For decades, Sheffield was on the margins, passed over by developers who found investment in cities like Manchester more attractive. 35
Figure 20 Sheffield - manufacturing power and ‘city of steel’ over 18th and 19th century.
35. Blackler, Z. (2006). Can Sheffield pull it off?. [online] Building.co.uk. Available at: http://www. building.co.uk/can-sheffield-pull-it-off?/3073170. article [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 36. Seaman, P. (2006). Analysis of Birmingham and Sheffield City Centre Regeneration Masterplans. Graduate. The University of Sheffield, p.32.
The city first became known as one of the powerhouses of British industry when much of Sheffield’s economy was fuelled by the proximity of natural resources, such as coal and iron ore. Both crucible steel and Sheffield plate were invented in the city, leading to the expansion of the industrial sector during the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1870, Sheffield supplied two-thirds of Europe’s steel (Figure 20). During the Second World War, air raids on the city destroyed a large amount of the urban form of Sheffield. Post-war reconstruction brought about the redevelopment of individual sites, as well as major road improvements and public planning schemes; however, many of these had a negative impact on the city’s urban form. As the developments took place in a haphazard and unsystematic fashion, new schemes fragmented much of the city and removed many of the original street patterns, ultimately affecting the permeability of the city. Sheffield started to lack the vitality and cohesion of the previous age.36
Previous revitalisation initiatives The holistic regeneration of Sheffield has been of primary importance for some time and, with the city back enjoying recovery and a major redevelopment of the city centre on its way, now it seems to be an appropriate time to assess the direction in which Sheffield is going. However, before providing details of the SRQ, it is vital to reflect on the previous regeneration attempts that have occurred in the city. The prime example of the regeneration that Sheffield has undergone in recent years is the ‘Heart of the City’ project, which consists of a few regenerated routes going through the city, as well as a couple of new civic buildings that are mainly located in the city centre.
Figure 21 Sheaf Square in front of Sheffield Train Station (part of Heart of the City revitalisation)
One of the most important parts of the project is the socalled ‘Gold Route’ - a series of spaces and streets that guide a visitor arriving at the station all the way to the main University of Sheffield campus (Figure 21).37 Each space along the Gold Route has its own distinctive character, represented by elements such as materiality and public art; however, all the spaces belong to one family with common themes referring to Sheffield’s character and history. Over time, the ‘Steel Route’, which links the edge of the Lower Don Valley and runs along the Moor to the boundary of the city centre and the Sharrow, has been added to the Gold Route. As part of a wider regeneration strategy, the two routes cross each other in the exact spot on which the Retail Quarter is planned to be built, creating a well-connected network of revitalised spaces across the city (Figure 22). However, unlike retail-led developments, those ‘routes’ are mainly focused on visual and cultural regeneration, rather than on job creation and bringing economic value to the city.38 At the same time, the popular success of both routes is evident from the extent to which both are used by the public, and from the way in which these spaces appear to have extended the hours during which the city centre is actively used.
Figure 22 A graph showing the mutual position of revitalised routes and the SRQ
37. Sheffield City Council (2009). Sheffield City Centre Public Realm: The Gold Route. [online] p.1. Available at: http://www.uklandscapeaward.org/ Entryfiles/1282828478Gold-Route.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 38. Punter, J. (2010). Urban Design and the British Urban Renaissance. 1st ed. London: Routledge, p.95.
SRQ Masterplan The Sheffield Retail Quarter differs slightly from many similar schemes, as the major driver is economic regeneration, with the challenge being to improve the prosperity of Sheffield as a city and to attract investment via the revitalisation of its retail core. 39 At present, Sheffield is the only major UK city has not yet enjoyed a comprehensive redesign of its retail sector. Therefore, completing the retail quarter development at the heart of Sheffield has been a strategic priority for local authorities for a number of years, with the early attempts starting as far back as the 1990s.40 The process of delivering a scheme on such a scale is extremely lengthy due to the number of parties involved and the sheer cost of creating it. Thus, since its inception, the project has undergone a number of significant iterations and amendments (Figure 23). Major setbacks also occurred, including putting the project completely on hold due to the global recession from 2009 until 2013 when the economy recovered.41 For this reason, it was not until 2014 that the Sheffield Retail Quarter was unveiled in its present form.
39. Sheffield City Council (2015). Sheffield Retail Quarter: Public Exhibition. [online] Available at: http://www.sheffieldretailquarter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SRQ_Public-Exhibition.pdf [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017]. 40. Sheffield City Council (2006). Sheffield City Council - Meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 13 December 2006. [online] Democracy.sheffield.gov. uk. Available at: http://democracy.sheffield.gov. uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=901&F=1-8%20 New%20Retail%20Quarter%24embed%24.htm&DF=13%2F12%2F2006&A=1&R=0 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 41. Thestar.co.uk. (2009). ‘Disaster’ as £600m city centre retail development put off INDEFINITELY. [online] Available at: http://www. thestar.co.uk/whats-on/out-and-about/disaster-as-163-600m-city-centre-retail-development-put-off-indefinitely-1-267232 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
Figure 23 A time-line showing milestones and iterations of the development
The currently proposed ÂŁ480 million scheme, designed by Leonard Design Architects, comprises approximately 900,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The new development is predominantly focused on retail and leisure but also includes over 200,000 sq. ft. dedicated to office space and residential units, making it significantly more diverse in terms of usage than draft proposals presented previously (Figure 24). According to planning documents, a main design priority for the Retail Quarter is to unite currently separate, key retail areas in the city centre starting from the Moor all the way to Fargate, which will undergo an extension. In addition to new pedestrian circuits ensuring proper linkages with an existing public realm, two additional public spaces will be generated in the process. The first will be a recreation of a historic space to the south at Moorhead, forming a new gateway to the scheme from the Moor to the south. The other will be created by relocating the John Lewis store in Cambridge Street to a site at the end of Cross Burgess Street.
Figure 24 The outline plan for Sheffield Retail Quarter
Retail scene in need of rescue Although Sheffield has seen a major overhaul regarding its key public spaces in recent years, the state of the current retail scene in the city centre is somewhat depressed.
Figure 27 Closed branch of Yorkshire Bank, The Moor, Sheffield
Figure 28 Display window of one the adopted shop units
42. Sheffield City Council (2013). SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE MASTER PLAN 2013. [online] p.18. Available at: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/ dam/sheffield/docs/planning-and-development/ city-wide-plans-and-reports/City%20Centre%20 Master%20Plan%20Draft%202013.pdf [Accessed 12 Mar. 2017]. 43. Webber, D. (2013). The Sheffield Showcase. [online] Thesourceacademy.co.uk. Available at: http://www.thesourceacademy.co.uk/sheffield-showcase [Accessed 14 Apr. 2017]. 44. Leonard Design Architects (2015). SRQ Sheffield Design and Access Statement. p.8. 45. Pantry, L. (2015). Sheffield ‘must become a destination’ if £480m shopping scheme is to work. [online] Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/sheffieldmust-become-a-destination-if-480m-shoppingscheme-is-to-work-1-7211196 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017].
According to figures from ‘Sheffield First: State of Sheffield Report’, the city had 116 vacant shop units out of a total number of 836 in 2013 (Figure 27). This indicates a vacancy rate of 13.8%, which reflects the impact of delayed regeneration development.42 This relatively high figure would be even higher if it were not for the temporary effect of initiatives such as ‘The Sheffield Showcase’, which has put over twenty vacant units back into use by letting those spaces to start-ups and smaller enterprises (Figure 28). As a result the ‘Showcase’ project has created a better environment for customers visiting businesses that are still operating in the area, as well as having provided opportunities for prospective talented Sheffield retailers who will drive the success of the forthcoming Sheffield Retail Quarter in years to come.43 However, despite actions being taken to limit the damage caused by delayed revitalisation, the city’s true retail core is shrinking at a rapid pace. With most retailers showing interest in being on Fargate, where shop units are generally smaller - typically 60% smaller than their stores in similar sized cities - there is a scarcity in the number and size of quality retail spaces in the city.44 Therefore, not only does this suggest that further retail expansion is not possible without a major overhaul of the city centre, but also presents Sheffield with the opportunity for a complete reinvention of its retail space.
Finding the right balance Despite the current retail situation in Sheffield, some people are confident to voice their opinions that the city has a bright future ahead of it. According to Professor Cathy Barnes, director of the Retail Institute at Leeds Beckett University, the Sheffield Retail Quarter has the required potential to compete with large retail centres such as Manchester and Leeds, but it has to ensure it provides an appropriate combination of uses and attracts the right tenants.45
Establishing and implementing correctly balanced, mixed-use development programme that consists not only of retail units but also includes offices, accommodation and leisure spaces is of prime importance to the success of the regeneration. The aim of such a policy goes beyond merely creating a visual variety of spaces across the complex, and is mainly aimed at stimulating and accelerating the economic growth of the city centre. As was discussed in the ‘2015 State of Sheffield Report’, the importance of new jobs to the city centre’s retail economy is immense, the key is finding a good equilibrium.46 A correctly balanced scheme with a thriving business scene and new residential units will provide the city with more office workers and more retail outlets, while increased retail will attract more office workers, leading to the closed loop of economic growth (Figure 29).
ATTRACTIVE RETAIL SCENE
(created by the author)
Figure 29 Self-reinforcing feedback loop in which profits and labor productivity continue to increase
46. Sheffield City Council (2015). State of Sheffield 2015 Report. [online] p.23. Available at: https:// www.sheffieldfirst.com/dms/sf/management/ corporate-communications/documents/SFP/ Key-Documents/State-of-Sheffield-Reports/ State-of-Sheffield-2015/State%20of%20Sheffield%202015.pdf [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
In the shorter term, as it is one of the most significant construction projects in the city, the Retail Quarter is expected to generate approximately 1,219 new full-time jobs across Sheffield during its construction. In the longer term, the SRQ is projected to create 4,779 jobs in the region, with the vast majority concentrated in sectors such as retail, professional services and tourism which, when put into context, represents approximately 2% of all employment created in Sheffield.47
Figure 30 The current state of Sheffield’s city center
As critical as the right mixture for the development is the presence of a small number of anchor stores across the area. Similarly to an traditional shopping malls, as was shown in the example of Liverpool One, retail-led developments are also highly dependent on quality prime retail spaces. As a result, much depends on what happens to the main department store in the SRQ, John Lewis, which needs to be relocated from the spaces that it currently occupies in order to achieve the step in offer and quality that its customers expect.48
Attracting big business
”We want high-end fashion stores” say Sheffield shoppers
47. Hope, D. and Hayden, M. (2016). Sheffield Retail Quarter (SRQ) Report. [online] SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL Planning & Highways Committee, p.200. Available at: http://democracy.sheffield. gov.uk/documents/s23566/SRQ%20Report.pdf [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017]. 48. Leonard Design Architects (2015). SRQ Sheffield Design and Access Statement. p.8. 49. Thestar.co.uk. (2016). ‘We want high-end fashion stores,’ say Sheffield shoppers. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/business/ we-want-high-end-fashion-stores-say-sheffieldshoppers-1-8084772 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017]. 50. Burn, C. (2016). Sheffield Retail Quarter ‘can put city back in fashion’ with new high-end stores. [online] Thestar.co.uk. Available at: http://www. thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-retail-quarter-canput-city-back-in-fashion-with-new-high-endstores-1-8084755 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. 51. Hope, D. and Hayden, M. (2016). Sheffield Retail Quarter (SRQ) Report. [online] SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL Planning & Highways Committee, p.89. Available at: http://democracy.sheffield.gov. uk/documents/s23566/SRQ%20Report.pdf [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].
With almost no high-end retailers represented in the city centre at the moment and clothing making up just 7.4 per cent of stores in the city compared to the national average of 19.2 per cent, Sheffield’s fashion retail sector needs a solid makeover (Figure 30).50 As stated in the report produced by the City Council, the city centre accounted for £830.4 million per annum of the total expenditure in the city in 2010, while Meadowhall (a major suburban, enclosed shopping mall located close to Sheffield’s city centre) produced a little over £670 million. The city centre dominates in the homeware, audio-visual and chemists’ goods sectors, yet Meadowhall comfortably outsells in the two largest categories of clothing and miscellaneous – these are associated more with fashion.51
However, what is even more alarming is that Meadowhall is currently undergoing a substantial expansion that is aimed at broadening its retail offer and attracting a new customer base, consequently strengthening its leverage over the SRQ (Figure 31).52 While the following issue was mentioned by Leonard Design Architects and acknowledged as the main area of concern, it was suggested that many retailers and restaurateurs want representation in both the city centre and in Meadowhall, and that both can prosper together.53
Figure 31 Artist’s vision of the refurbished Meadowhall shopping centre
Nevertheless, it is reasonable to question the logic behind developing two competing, major retail schemes with similar product offers at the same time. Moreover, it could be argued that only attracting numerous ‘big retail players’ may also lead to small boutique stores, bars and other independent shops such as the ones created by the aforementioned ‘Sheffield Showcase’ initiative being overlooked or priced out of the Sheffield Retail Quarter. The early signs of process could already be observed in 2015, when the City Council experienced heavy criticism after agreeing to the demolition of a string of independent shops on Devonshire Street to make way for a new development, despite mass objections, a 20,000 strong petition and a protest outside the Sheffield Town Hall.54 Therefore, it is vital to put appropriate strategies that will not only ensure collaboration between the city centre and Meadowhall in place in order to take advantage of the strengths of each, but also to guarantee a healthy balance between continuing to expand a base of well-recognised brands and cultivating Sheffield’s ‘local approach’ to business.
52. Casci, M. (2016). Massive £300m expansion plan for Sheffield’s Meadowhall will create 1,000 jobs. [online] Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/our-region/ south-yorkshire/sheffield/massive-300m-expansion-plan-for-sheffield-s-meadowhall-will-create-1-000-jobs-1-7906328 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. 53. Leonard Design Architects (2015). SRQ Sheffield Design and Access Statement. p.9. 54. Pantry, L. (2015). Sheffield ‘must become a destination’ if £480m shopping scheme is to work. [online] Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/sheffieldmust-become-a-destination-if-480m-shoppingscheme-is-to-work-1-7211196 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017].
Centripetal migration and the repercussions thereof It is essential to remember that, in the case of retail-led regeneration, a shopping centre is not only at the heart of the city centre geographically, but also in a social and community sense. Therefore, in order for shopping to continue to be competitive, it needs to become something more than a somewhat unpleasant necessity.55
Figure 33 Change in households moving, 2003-2006, showing significant populatio increase in Sheffieldâ€™s city centre
A partial solution to this seems to be created by the aforementioned combination of uses, particularly the addition of residential units, which appears to characterise retail-led projects. Such a design approach encapsulates the essence of a vibrant community within the city centre, which attracts businesses and creates a safer environment, thereby leading to an influx of people and bringing more life to the area. This can be observed via the example of Sheffield city centre, which was populated by only 2,000 people 20 years ago; following the series of major regeneration projects in the city, the figure grew to 20,000 over time, with the prospect of increasing even more following the successful completion of the Sheffield Retail Quarter (Figure 33).56 Therefore, it is fair to say that young professionals who are successful in their careers need a reason to stay in Sheffield and that an important part of this is a vibrant city centre, which can be created by the SRQ.57
55. Daramola-Martin, A. and Littlefield, D. (2009). Liverpool One: Remaking a City Centre. 1st ed. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, p.42. 56. Council invites comments on new Retail Quarter. (2017). [video] Available at: https://vimeo.com/128263470 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017], 3:02 4:20min. 57. Sheffield City Council (2016). State of Sheffield 2016 Report. [online] p.45. Available at: https://www.sheffieldfirst.com/dms/sf/management/corporate-communications/documents/ SFP/Key-Documents/State-of-Sheffield-2016/ State%20of%20Sheffield%202016.pdf [Accessed 16 Apr. 2017]. 58. Hope, D. and Hayden, M. (2016). Sheffield Retail Quarter (SRQ) Report. [online] SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL Planning & Highways Committee, p.23. Available at: http://democracy.sheffield.gov. uk/documents/s23566/SRQ%20Report.pdf [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017]. 59. Kwang Lee, J. (2017). Mega-Retail-Led Regeneration and Housing Price. disP - The Planning Review, 49(2), p.75.
On the other hand, management of such residential intensification in the city centre poses a major challenge and is often accompanied by a process of substantial gentrification of the area. In accordance with documents outlining the proposal for the SRQ, the scheme is said to provide a minimum of 130 and a maximum of 278 units, most of which are high-end one- or two-bedroomed flats for private sale.58 However, unlike affordable units, these semi-luxury apartments are primarily targeted at more affluent, well-educated city-dwellers, consequently pricing residents who cannot afford the resulting increased rents out of the neighbourhood.59 In response to the increasing gentrification of the area, some active members of the public decided to voice their concerns about practices adopted by the council, and about possible ignorance of government directives concerning a fixed quota of 20 per cent of social hous-
ing that should be included in developments as part of city-centre living.60 As a result, a number of alternative initiatives emerged, such as community-driven regeneration proposals created by architecture students led by Dr Cristina Cerulli from Sheffield School of Architecture, who believes that:
”...community-led regeneration is a viable alternative to
the prevailing retail led models and has a lot of potential in Sheffield, where a large number of bottom-up initiatives are emerging. 61
Major projects and their share in creating major disparities
When discussing city regeneration on such a large scale, it would be a major omission not to discuss the associated expenditures. Although the cost of the Sheffield Retail Quarter has decreased significantly since project’s inception and initial estimates of £600 million, the development still poses a major financial challenge for the city, as its current price tag is £480 million. The scheme was initially designed in such a way that the majority of costs would be covered by external investors, leaving the city with a direct contribution of only £60 million. However, according to local news, Sheffield City Council has recently announced that it will triple its planned direct spending on the SRQ to over £180 million, as well as increasing the amount of taxpayers’ money invested in the project significantly.62 As a result, methods of mitigating the immediate costs associated with such large scale development were adopted, and the project was divided into smaller phases with different completion dates. This intervention will result in a longer building process, but gives the city the opportunity to make an early profit from units that have begun to operate, ultimately leading to an increase in the city’s financial liquidity. Despite this, long-term financial commitment to the scheme is still likely to cause major, at least temporary decrease in spending on other projects, leading to an unavoidable investment disparity in different areas of the city (Figure 34).
Figure 34 Tent City at Park Hill, Sheffield - formed to protest against the effects of wide-spread gentrification
60. Thestar.co.uk. (2003). Inner city ‘ghetto’ for students and yuppies. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/whats-on/out-andabout/inner-city-ghetto-for-students-and-yuppies-1-318321 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. 61. Sheffield.ac.uk. (2016). Sheffield students unveil proposals for community led regeneration in Sheffield City Centre - Latest - School of Architecture - The University of Sheffield. [online] Available at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/architecture/latest/ community-regeneration-1.575127 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. 62. Thestar.co.uk. (2016). Sheffield Council spending on New Retail Quarter to treble to over £180m. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/ news/sheffield-council-spending-on-new-retailquarter-to-treble-to-over-180m-1-8020652 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].
As acknowledged in the State of Sheffield’s 2016 report, growing inequality threatens the cohesion and stability of a city, with Sheffield historically showing “particular tendencies to experience patterns of urbanisation where poorer people and more wealthy people live in different parts of the city”.63 While there is no doubt regarding the importance of the continuous regeneration of Sheffield, the form thereof might be questioned. It is worth noting that the wildly successful Gold Route scheme cost only a fraction of retail-led developments, while simultaneously bringing regeneration to a much broader segment of the city and a more diverse group of people than will the SRQ. Therefore, we have to be conscious of the expenditures associated with retail-led regeneration when there is a clear need for its presence, or we need to reconsider its usefulness and ask questions such as: Would it be better to invest more in poorer areas to improve outcomes for these communities? Are there priority groups of citizens that deserve immediate financial aid?
Changing the definition of public space
Figure 35 An example of private-public space at the back of St Paul’s Tower, Sheffield
63. Sheffield City Council (2016). State of Sheffield 2016 Report. [online] p.113. Available at: https://www.sheffieldfirst.com/dms/sf/management/corporate-communications/documents/ SFP/Key-Documents/State-of-Sheffield-2016/ State%20of%20Sheffield%202016.pdf [Accessed 16 Apr. 2017]. 64. Vasagar, J. (2012). Privately owned public space: where are they and who owns them?. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www. theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jun/11/privately-owned-public-space-map [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].
While everyone agrees on the importance of preserving quality public spaces in city centres, we have somehow failed to notice that the majority of these so-called ‘public spaces’ are, in fact, no longer public. Closely analogous to Liverpool One, where a 250-year land lease was granted to an investor, the Sheffield Retail Quarter also relies on returning a significant portion of the city to private hands upon its completion. While this might not seem to be a serious issue at first, we have to remember that all actions have consequences. Public land is usually governed by specific laws and local bylaws, making it open to the public without any restrictions; however, when land becomes privatised (usually by a commercial property developer), various restrictions might be imposed.64 These might include a prohibition on the right to do anything considered ‘anti-social’, including the right to protest, skateboard or cycle, amongst others. The concept itself, however, is nothing new. Privately owned public open spaces (POPOS) began to emerge
already in the 1960s, and the results can also be seen in Sheffield; for example, the squares at the back of St Paul’s Tower near the Winter Garden (Figure 35).65 Consequently, there is a long, on-going debate surrounding this issue, with various groups presenting opposing arguments. In the pages of ‘The Guardian’ we can read an article written by a fierce opponent of the privatisation of public spaces, Anna Minto, in which she argues that this model of land ownership leads to “the creation of a new environment characterised by high-security, ‘defensible’ architecture policed by security guards and round-the-clock surveillance” in most cases.66 In opposition to Minto’s argument stands a leading developer of Liverpool One, who claims that:
Figure 36 Public consultations informing the local community about the future of the SRQ
”….people have been visiting regional shopping centres like
Meadowhall and Bluewater and finding them much cleaner and safer than other parts of city centres. They don’t care about the legal niceties, they just wonder why some parts are managed better. Our desire is to use the same principles applied to the major shopping malls, but in the context of the city centre. 67
In this instance, both sides of the argument make valid points, and it is not really clear whether POPOS pose a threat to the freedom of public space. While Anna Minton’s criticism can be understood, it is also true that city centres require an appropriate level of safety, which sometimes cannot be ensured without additional financial help from private investors. Nevertheless, it is strongly suggested that developers should be regularly, monitored to prevent them from abusing the privilege of owning part of the city centre for their own gain. On a more positive note, despite the fact that public spaces are technically privately owned, the local community can still have a say over the future shape of such spaces (Figure 36).
65. Slack, N. (2015). Retail Quarter: Shopping heaven or hell?. [online] nowthenmagazine.com. Available at: http://nowthenmagazine.com/sheffield/issue-91/retail-quarter/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
At the beginning of June 2015, nearly 3,500 people visited a public exhibition on Fargate to voice their opinion about the SRQ, thus providing an invaluable source of quality feedback from the wider spectrum of people who will use the space on a daily basis (Appendix 1).68 This community involvement, particularly in Sheffield can be defined as somewhat characteristic of retail-led developments and of regeneration schemes in general due to their high social value to the city.
67. Minton, A. (2012). Ground control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first-century city. 1st ed. London: Penguin Books, p.17.
66. Minton, A. (2012). We are returning to an undemocratic model of land ownership. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/2012/jun/11/public-spaces-undemocratic-land-ownership [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].
68. Sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk. (2015). Sheffielders give support to new shopping quarter. [online] Available at: http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/ sheffielders-give-support-to-new-shopping-quarter/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].
Facets of commercial architecture Similarly to economic and social aspects, architecture also plays an important role in the transformation of British cities. Both the visual appeal of a completed development and the spatial organisation of the buildings have an increasingly high impact on the social behaviour of the inhabitants. Therefore, as the success or failure of the scheme will often hinge on the quality of the individual buildings, it should not be surprising that, although retail-led regeneration projects mainly consist of commercial architecture, the quality of the buildings cannot be compromised.69
Figure 38 Image derived from architects’ entrance signage analysis, showing us an attention to detail during the prospect elevation design
For many, shopping spaces were and are still seen as an inferior building typology and as the product of commercially driven ‘lesser’ designers, whose work is at odds with an architect’s agenda of good intentions.70 Fortunately, based on the planning documents gathered (Appendix 2), it is fair to say that the architects of the SRQ have gone to great lengths to ensure the above-average quality of the architecture and cohesion with the surroundings across the entire scheme. Although the documents created by Leonard Design Architects did not contain exact specifications of the buildings due to the relatively early phase of the project, they included comprehensive ‘Urban design code’ guidelines in which the architects have identified specific characteristics of different, existing parts of the site, and have analysed them and drawn conclusions that will guide the architectural vision of the new scheme.
69. Adigard, E. and Betsky, A. (2000). Architecture must burn: A manifesto for an architecture beyond building. London: Thames & Hudson. 70. Davey, P. (1997). Outrage. The Architectural Review, p.37. 71. Changsup, S. and Carla Almeida, S. (2016). Urban Tourism: Placelessness and Placeness in Shopping Complexes. Tourism Travel and Research Association: Advancing Tourism Research Globally, [online] 78, p.2. Available at: http://ttra.omnibooksonline.com/polopoly_fs/1.6249.1369925245!/ fileserver/file/1093/filename/38.pdf [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].
The planning materials collected contained an extensive analysis of topics such as a signage study that was conducted to ensure the visual coherence of the public space, an evaluation of the retention of street patterns in order to maintain good linkages across the site, a material study that highlighted the most suitable material options and many other considerations (Figure 38). Therefore, it stands to reason that, although commercial architecture is often conceptualised as the driving force of placelessness, the continued effort to increase the quality of shopping districts by designers merits the argument that shopping venues located in the city centre might also serve as an attractive urban spaces that contain a certain level of contemporary architectural significance for the population.71
Urban identity Traditionally, the way in which a city grows is a somewhat slow process, expanding and evolving building by building, gradually creating a sense of identity.72 Even now, it is still rare for entire sections of a city to be obliterated and replaced. Thus, together with the substantial changes brought about by the sheer scale of developments similar to retail-led regeneration, there is always the risk of the destabilisation of a city that had previously operated as a relatively well-oiled machine. In the case of Sheffield and its current regeneration strategy, concerns are not only about the demolition of buildings such as Henry’s and the loss of the iconic 1960s modernism of John Lewis, but also about the potential that heritage buildings (particularly a long strip along Pinstone Street) could fall victim to so-called ‘façadism’ - retaining the exterior without any internal respect for it, and turning the facades into mere imitations of the identity of past buildings.
Figure 39 Currently proposed ascethic of the Sheffield Retail Quarter, designed by Leonard Design Architects
For this reason, it could be argued that the architects of the previous iterations of the SRQ were slightly more successful in their attempts to address the problem of architectural identity and urban integration. Unlike to the currently proposed Retail Quarter and its somewhat uniform design aesthetic (Figure 39), the original 2007 scheme commonly known as ‘Sevenstone’ was created with forming a new identity in mind. The leading architects, rather than designing the entire complex themselves, created a master plan with an urban design framework for other architects to fill in, making it appear as if the complex grew organically – ‘just like cities do’ (Figure 40).73 Due to this novel approach, the appointed architects would not only have greater design independence, but would also have more time to focus solely on one building at the time, resulting in the higher overall quality of the scheme.74 In the case of the ‘Sevenstone’ scheme, although the true identity of previous places also would not be retained, a development would give birth to a new identity, one that portrays Sheffield as a city that is not afraid to write a new chapter in its history.
Figure 40 Part of a wider Sevenstone scheme desigened by various architects, including Hawkins\Brown, AHMM and O’Donnell + Tuomey among others
72. Kostof, S. (1991). The City Shaped Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. 1st ed. New York: Bulfinch Press, p.52. 73. Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (2004). DESIGN REVIEWED TOWN CENTRE RETAIL. [online] p.28. Available at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov. uk/20110118095356/http:/www.cabe.org.uk/files/ design-review-ed-town-centre-retail.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. 74. Mark, L. (2013). Sheffield Council to head up £600 million retail quarter. [online] Architects Journal. Available at: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-to-head-up600-million-retail-quarter/8654023.article [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].
Social space interventions Finally, when we discuss architecture, it is vital to revisit the concept of public spaces and their design. While often widely undervalued, these commonly named ‘in-between’ spaces serve two of the three vital functions of the city mentioned in Gehl’s theory75, and form the foundation of every successful retail-led development. Created with encouraging interactions, persuading customers to visit specific shop locations and fostering links between different parts of the scheme in mind, public spaces play an important role in an increasingly complex and interconnected urban landscape.76 Therefore, it is vital to understand the importance of going beyond minimum regulations and design requirements for public spaces.
Figure 41 Main public space intersection in the SRQ scheme
Based on ‘Retail-led regeneration: Why it matters to our communities report’, the list below provides a set of goals that architects should strive to achieve during the design of retail-led developments77 : • extend street networks rather than enclose malls • create relationships with and connections to neighbouring areas • improve and upgrade public spaces and walkways • create free-standing blocks (which can be phased) rather than monolithic mega-structures • provide public art installations and public realm clean-up
75. Gehl, J. and Gemzøe, L. (2004). Public spaces, public life. 1st ed. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press & the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, p.3. 76. Changsup, S. and Carla Almeida, S. (2016). Urban Tourism: Placelessness and Placeness in Shopping Complexes. Tourism Travel and Research Association: Advancing Tourism Research Globally, [online] 78, p.2. Available at: http://ttra.omnibooksonline.com/polopoly_fs/1.6249.1369925245!/ fileserver/file/1093/filename/38.pdf [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017]. 77. Claxton, R. and Siora, G. (2008). Retail-led regeneration: Why it matters to our communities?. [online] DTZ Consulting, p.47. Available at: http:// www.bitc.org.uk/system/files/retail-led_regeneration_study.pdf [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
Despite the fact that the SRQ’s public space proposal seems to possess all necessary qualities to succeed at first glance, one point remains less convincing. Unlike Liverpool One, the Sheffield Retail Quarter tends to lack quality green spaces within its public realm. Not including such spaces not only means a lack of much-needed contrast between social spaces and the monolithic masses of buildings in between, but might also be regarded as a missed opportunity to create a vibrant leisure space and event venue, even when the commercial part is closed (Figure 41).
Moreover, due to a scarcity of â€˜green areasâ€™, the effects of the aforementioned public space privatisation might be even more severe. In order to preserve the initial condition of greenery, restrictions such as the prohibition of sitting on the grass might be adopted, ultimately creating a formalised environment in which people cannot behave freely (Figure 43). Closely analogous to humans, retail-led developments also need lungs and air space to breath and, in this case, such green space would relieve the already overloaded Peace Gardens (Figure 42) and inject life into the scheme.
Figure 42 Main public square in Sheffield (Peace Gardens) during the summer
Figure 43 Illustrative SRQ public realm scheme
Introduction The overall research aim of this study was to explore the underlying reasons that shopping developments are becoming a vital part of city rejuvenation strategies, as well as to assess the extent to which such regeneration schemes are successful in terms of creating better cities. Based on the research objectives above, this section of the study will summarise the findings and present the conclusions. Subsequently, recommendations regarding the future progress of this research study will be discussed. Following this, a section presenting self-reflection has been included to share a more personal viewpoint of the research undertaken.
Summary of Findings When discussing the topic of the city regeneration via retail-led developments, it is apparent that no single factor can bring about the transformation for which we strive. The rejuvenation of the urban realm is a complex process, consisting of many facets. Hence, based on the characteristics of retail-led regeneration discussed earlier, this study will briefly revisit the three pillars of impact in order to summarise the collected findings. Economic impact With a paradigm shift in the UKâ€™s economy and a departure from manufacturing in favour of services in many major cities across the country, and based on the case studies, the reasons that retail-led schemes are becoming a modern driving force of urban renewal become clear. Their unparalleled impact on boosting local employment levels, as well as improving the image of the city as a top shopping location, are only two of the various positive effects that these developments contribute in terms of regenerating cityâ€™s economy. Social impact Despite the fact that the substantial contribution of retail-led developments in polarising people back to the city centres is evident, the consequences of this phenomenon cannot be denied.
Problems of rapid gentrification, subsequent investment disparity in neighbourhoods, together with an on-going dispute about the privatisation of public spaces are evident in corresponding lack of trust on the part of locals, particularly underprivileged communities that do not believe in the good intentions of investors who, they believe, are driven only by profits and not an agenda to promote social benefit. Therefore, it has to be noted that, although retail-led regeneration is not designed with the intention of causing harm in the social context, its by-products are likely to disrupt the previous social equilibrium at least temporarily. Architectural impact Based on the characteristics described in the previous chapter, it is safe to assume that creating an environment in which design is not in conflict with the economy is more than possible. While some aspects of architectural expression still might be improved, in general, the evaluated schemes represent a much higher quality of commercial architecture and contextual awareness than did their predecessors (for example, enclosed shopping malls). Nevertheless, special attention should be paid to the subject of maintaining or creating a new identity for the city on the occasion of its regeneration. Schemes on such a scale are usually an essential building block in paving the way to a new era for a city. Therefore, the message about either the consistent preservation of an old identity or the creation of a new one has to be loud and clear, without any room for architectural indifference. In conclusion, with regard to the Sheffield Retail Quarter alone, it might be argued that this type of revival, due to its particular economic impact, is essential for Sheffield as the city centre has long suffered from a delayed revitalisation. That being said, the social aspects of such developments might still be defined as imperfect and lacking as, in its current form, retail-led regeneration serves only a limited number of social groups.
Although retail-led developments are not a universal solution to all types of regeneration needs that a city might have, their above-average, generally positive impact in two of the three categories identified certainly merits the argument that these schemes should be considered as a viable option when thinking about the urban regeneration of British cities.
Recommendations While this study has found that retail-led schemes have a generally positive impact on urban regeneration, it should not be forgotten that this research was based on relatively immature examples of such developments. As lengthy as the process of building such a development is, an actual â€˜urban renaissanceâ€™ requires even more time for its results to become evident and truly measurable. Therefore, we will only be able to define the actual role of retail-led developments in the regeneration of contemporary cities with the benefit of hindsight. As a result, it might be suggested that this research be resumed after the completion of the scheme, and should continue over a longer period - probably at evenly timed intervals in order to monitor the long-term impact of retail-led regeneration.
Self-Reflection Upon reflection, it must be acknowledged that the chosen research topic has a more complex and somewhat broader nature than anticipated, making it difficult to address every single aspect in detail without exceeding the word limit of the study. Thus, an approach to evaluating a variety of significant impacts that a retail-led regeneration entails was adopted and, based on this, a holistic conclusion was drawn. Furthermore, much of the research time was spent gathering planning proposals and documents from various sources; whilst this was a useful experience, it might have been easier to conduct the main research on a scheme that is already in operation, allowing for more socially focused methods of enquiry, such as surveys and analyses of peopleâ€™s behaviour in the space to be adopted.
However, since Sheffield has been my home for the past few years of my undergraduate studies, I have developed an affinity with the city. Therefore, I found it extremely stimulating to not only increase my understanding of retail-led regeneration in general, but also to explore information about The Sheffield area, its architecture and its potential for improvement.
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Videos: Council invites comments on new Retail Quarter. (2017). [video] Available at: https://vimeo. com/128263470 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017].
Online Articles: Thestar.co.uk. (2009). ‘Disaster’ as £600m city centre retail development put off INDEFINITELY. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/whats-on/out-and-about/disaster-as-163-600m-city-centre-retail-development-put-off-indefinitely-1-267232 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Al, S. (2017). All under one roof: how malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/16/malls-cities-becomeone-and-same [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Blackler, Z. (2006). Can Sheffield pull it off?. [online] Building.co.uk. Available at: http://www. building.co.uk/can-sheffield-pull-it-off?/3073170.article [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Burn, C. (2016). Sheffield Retail Quarter ‘can put city back in fashion’ with new high-end stores. [online] Thestar.co.uk. Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-retail-quarter-canput-city-back-in-fashion-with-new-high-end-stores-1-8084755 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Casci, M. (2016). Massive £300m expansion plan for Sheffield’s Meadowhall will create 1,000 jobs. [online] Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/our-region/south-yorkshire/sheffield/massive-300m-expansion-plan-for-sheffield-s-meadowhall-will-create-1-000jobs-1-7906328 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Oxford Dictionary. (2017). Definition of retail. [online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries. com/definition/retail [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].
Unesco.org. (2017). Inclusion through Access to Public Space | United Nations. [online] Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/urban-development/ migrants-inclusion-in-cities/good-practices/inclusion-through-access-to-public-space/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017]. Thestar.co.uk. (2003). Inner city ‘ghetto’ for students and yuppies. [online] Available at: http://www. thestar.co.uk/whats-on/out-and-about/inner-city-ghetto-for-students-and-yuppies-1-318321 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Mark, L. (2013). Sheffield Council to head up £600 million retail quarter. [online] Architects Journal. Available at: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-to-head-up-600-million-retail-quarter/8654023.article [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Minton, A. (2012). We are returning to an undemocratic model of land ownership. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/11/public-spaces-undemocratic-land-ownership [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Pantry, L. (2015). Sheffield ‘must become a destination’ if £480m shopping scheme is to work. [online] Yorkshirepost.co.uk. Available at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/sheffield-must-become-a-destination-if-480m-shopping-scheme-is-to-work-1-7211196 [Accessed 6 Apr. 2017]. Rigby, D. (2011). The Future of Shopping. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2011/12/the-futureof-shopping [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016]. Sheffield City Council (2006). Sheffield City Council - Meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 13 December 2006. [online] Democracy.sheffield.gov.uk. Available at: http://democracy.sheffield.gov. uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=901&F=1-8%20New%20Retail%20Quarter%24embed%24. htm&DF=13%2F12%2F2006&A=1&R=0 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Thestar.co.uk. (2016). Sheffield Council spending on New Retail Quarter to treble to over £180m. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-spending-on-new-retailquarter-to-treble-to-over-180m-1-8020652 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. sheffield.ac.uk. (2016). Sheffield students unveil proposals for community led regeneration in Sheffield City Centre - Latest - School of Architecture - The University of Sheffield. [online] Available at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/architecture/latest/community-regeneration-1.575127 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk. (2015). Sheffielders give support to new shopping quarter. [online] Available at: http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/sheffielders-give-support-to-new-shoppingquarter/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Slack, N. (2015). Retail Quarter: Shopping heaven or hell?. [online] nowthenmagazine.com. Available at: http://nowthenmagazine.com/sheffield/issue-91/retail-quarter/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Vasagar, J. (2012). Privately owned public space: where are they and who owns them?. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jun/11/privatelyowned-public-space-map [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017]. Waite, R. and Braidwood, E. (2017). Stirling Prize Video: Liverpool One. [online] Architects Journal. Available at: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/home/stirling-prize-video-liverpool-one/5209267.article [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017]. Webber, D. (2013). The Sheffield Showcase. [online] Thesourceacademy.co.uk. Available at: http:// www.thesourceacademy.co.uk/sheffield-showcase [Accessed 14 Apr. 2017]. Thestar.co.uk. (2016). ‘We want high-end fashion stores,’ say Sheffield shoppers. [online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/business/we-want-high-end-fashion-stores-say-sheffield-shoppers-1-8084772 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].
List of Illustrations: Figure 1: Sheffield Meadowhall Shopping Center Source: www.completelyretail.co.uk [Accessed April 01, 2017] Figure 2: Peace Gardens Sheffield Source: www.summersheffield2013.wordpress.com [Accessed April 02, 2017] Figure 3: Gruen’s Agora (Southdale Center) Source: www.qz.com [Accessed April 02, 2017] Figure 4: ‘And then there was shopping’ - evolution of commerce over time Source: The Harvard Design School: Guide to Shopping Project on the City, p129 Figure 5: The vibrancy of commerce under the colonnades of Stoa Source: www.the-romans.co.uk [Accessed March 20, 2017] Figure 6: Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota Source: www.mall-hall-of-fame.blogspot.co.uk [Accessed April 01, 2017] Figure 7: ‘Dumb-bell’ principle (Southdale Shopping Center) Source: Shopping Town USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers, p.24 Figure 8: Mall of America - Interior Source: www.weburbanist.com [Accessed March 20, 2017] Figure 9: Diagram illustrating the concept of ‘Urban renaissance’ Source: http://www.andrewwrightassociates.com [Accessed April 19, 2017] Figure 10: Liverpool One Shopping Center Source: www.bdp.com/liverpoolOne [Accessed March 22, 2017] Figure 11: 1941’s Liverpool bombings Source: Liverpool One - Remaking a City Centre, p.11 Figure 12: The Liverpool One Project Book Source: http://www.bdonline.co.uk [Accessed March 21, 2017] Figure 13: Liverpool One development site in its context Source: Liverpool One - Remaking a City Centre, p.22 Figure 14: Liverpool One bird’s eye view analysis Source: Drawn by the author (based on Google Maps photo) Figure 15: Early sketches of the complex Source: Liverpool One - Remaking a City Centre, p.22 Figure 16: Liverpool One Park Source: www.aver.uk.com/Liverpool-ONE-Park [Accessed March 21, 2017] Figure 17: Mapping of Liverpool One Source: Drawn by the author Figure 18: Sheffield Winter Garden Source: www.throapham-house.co.uk [Accessed March 29, 2017] Figure 19: Location of Sheffield Source: Drawn by the author Figure 20: Industrial Revolution in Sheffield Source: www.wikipedia.com/sheffield [Accessed March 27, 2017] Figure 21: Sheaf Square - Sheffield, UK Source: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheaf_Square/ [Accessed March 29, 2017] Figure 22: ‘Heart of the City’ Regeneration Source: www.sheffield.gov.uk [Accessed March 27, 2017]
Figure 23: The SRQ milestones time-line Source: Drawn by the author Figure 24: The outline plan for Sheffield Retail Quarter Source: www.sheffieldretailquarter.com [Accessed March 29, 2017] Figure 25: Sheffield Retail Quarter bird’s eye view analysis Source: Drawn by the author (based on LDA’s Design Report graphic) Figure 26: Artist’s impression of the SRQ Source: http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk [Accessed April 04, 2017] Figure 27: Closed branch of Yorkshire Bank, The Moor, Sheffield Source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/ [Accessed April 04, 2017] Figure 28:Display window of one the adopted shop units Source: www.thesourceacademy.co.uk [Accessed April 04, 2017] Figure 29: Economic growth loop Source: Drawn by the author Figure 30: The current state of Sheffield’s city center Source: www.photodays.co.uk/portfolio/ [Accessed April 04, 2017] Figure 31: New extension to Meadowhall shopping centre Source: www.bdp.com [Accessed April 10, 2017] Figure 32: Artist’s impression of the SRQ Source: www.lightbox.apartments.co.uk [Accessed April 11, 2017] Figure 33: Housing situation in Sheffield Source: www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk [Accessed April 15, 2017] Figure 34: Tent City at Park Hill, Sheffield Source: www.thestar.co.uk [Accessed April 12, 2017] Figure 35: Square at the back of St Paul’s Tower, Sheffield Source: www.e-architect.co.uk [Accessed April 12, 2017] Figure 36: The SRQ public exhibition Source: www.twitter.com/sheffrq/media [Accessed April 17, 2017] Figure 37: The SRQ bird’s eye view - Public-Exhibition Leaflet Source: www.sheffieldretailquarter.com [Accessed March 29, 2017] Figure 38: Signage (part of Urban Design Code Report) Source: www.sheffield.gov.uk/ [Accessed April 10, 2017] Figure 39: Sheffield City Council proposed New Retail Quarter Source: www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk [Accessed April 14, 2017] Figure 40: Sevenstone scheme Source: www.architectsjournal.co.uk [Accessed April 12, 2017] Figure 41: SRQ Sheffield | Design & access statement Source: www.sheffield.gov.uk/ [Accessed April 10, 2017] Figure 42: Peace Gardens Source: www.secretsheffield.wordpress.com [Accessed April 16, 2017] Figure 43: SRQ Sheffield | Design & access statement Source: www.sheffield.gov.uk/ [Accessed April 10, 2017] Figure 44: SRQ Sheffield | Design & access statement Source: www.sheffield.gov.uk/ [Accessed April 10, 2017]
Appendices: Appendix 1 The SRQ community involvement data
Appendix 2 Contextual analysis carried out by Leonard Design Architects
Scale, Massing Analysis
Source: Urban Design Code Sheffield Retail Quarter
Appendix 2 Contextual analysis carried out by Leonard Design Architects
Enclosure & Fenestration analysis
Public realm analysis
Source: Urban Design Code Sheffield Retail Quarter
A study into the implications of revitalising cities through retail-led developments