Essence Of City Centre: The Case Study of St. Peter Square In Manchester City Centre

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MA ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM Dissertation Thesis Report Author : Kisanet Hagos Siyum Goitom [20020569] Tutor : Mazin Al-Saffar

ACKNOWLEGDGEMENT Dr. Mazin Al-Saffar, my primary supervisor, guided and encouraged me throughout the study process so that I could pursue this research paper and complete it to my greatest potential. I’d also like to thank Ms.Demetra for her invaluable assistance in structuring the work in a readable manner, which she provided through her extensive analytical techniques and feedback.





what makes a city a good place?


ABSTRACT Urban ambience is an identity creator of a city and characterized the space to form ‘creative milieu’. A sensory perspective involves a socio-aesthetic approach that enables us to grasp everyday urban atmospheres. Therefore, this dissertation identifies the city’s urban ambience in City Centre of Manchester and how it helps to activate our senses by using sensory design. This design is needed as a catalyst for changing the ambience of the city to have more affective atmospheric. Theoretically, I would like to measure the power of all the senses in City Centre of Manchester and practices them to codify it in other city centres. That, then, is the challenge: to develop methods considering the senses available within us for identifying the relationships between sensory experience and well-being in a place. Keywords: 5 senses, urban atmosphere, sensorial urbanism, liveable, city


STRUCTURE Acknowledgment




List of Figures List of Tables

08 08

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Objective and methodology 1.2 Chapter overview 1.3 limitations

10 12 14 14

CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 2.1 Sensory urbanism 2.1.1 An introduction 2.1.2 Dimensions

16 18 18 18

2.2 The sensory landscape of cities – SENSESCAPE 2.2.1 the car & the senses 2.2.2 Linguistic shortcomings 2.2.3 the look of the city 2.3 Sensory control 2.3.1 limits of sensibility 2.3.2 change form & perception 2.3.3 governance policy & application 2.4 Conclusion

19 19 19 20 21 21 21 22 22

CHAPTER 3: HISTORY ANALYSIS OF ST. PETER SQUARE 3.1 after the Napoleonic war 3.2 the town extension 3.3 the urban transformation from the beginning to the end 3.3.1 the urban atmosphere 3.3.2 the building surrounding 3.4 the conclusion

24 25 26 27 27 28 30


CHAPTER 4: THE CASE STUDY OF ST. PETER SQUARE 4.1 Identifying the multi-sensory features on St.Peter square 4.1.1 serial vision using observation survey 4.1.2 observing and analysing St. Peter square for 5 months

32 33 33 34

4.2 hear walking route in Manchester City Centre 4.2.1 Mapping (route) 4.2.2 Walking and observation route

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54 58


List of figures



17 17 25 25 26 26 26 28 28 28 28 28 28 29 33 36 38 40 42 43 44 48

List of tables


TABLE 3.1: the urban transformation from the beginning to the end




INTRODUCTION “Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this mediation takes place through the senses” Juhani Pallasmaa


What do things look like? What colours do you see ? How far can you see ? What do you smell ? What sounds do you hear? What do you feel? What do you touch? The city is a strike on the senses. Urban theorists such as Lynch (1981) have spoken of the “sensory city” as the heart of the lived experience. Cities are sensory, emotional experiences, for good and for bad. A city tells us things that makes our body perceive the place with our sensations. Sensory awareness in architecture is necessary because the existential experience of a place is strengthened by architecture, a multi-sensory experience that is perceived in the built environment evaluated equitably by the ears, eyes, tongue, ears, skeleton, and muscle. Contemporary places suffer from an imbalanced atmosphere, Charles Landry in his latest book, The Art of City-making has discussed that the city ‘s creativity is overwhelmed and overloaded with its economic vision and competition (Landry,2006) and Pallasmaa (2012) reiterates the idea by raising awareness of the technology culture referring to it as a negative development in architecture. It has detached the senses more distinctly from each other and thus the place risks the creative, imaginative and inclusive. Recent research has pointed out that urban planner, designer, developer, or manager when designing prompt to perceive what we see, thus our sight is not the only factor used to experiences space (Zardini,2010). The dissertation will focus on how to reveal the importance of sensory urbanism in a City Centre. The case study will concentrate at the midpoint of Manchester city centre, St. Peter square. St Peter square was among the highly regenerated areas of Manchester city centre. Manchester City Council (2021) mentioned how St. Peter Square has different buildings from civic grandeur to commercial property. . These structures communicate to us through their structure, placement, size, orientation, material, and colour; nevertheless, the overpowering developments may inhibit the communication of perception. St. Peter square will be analysed by observation and interviews as suggested by Lynch (1981) for being the useful methods for effective outcomes. Observing and analysing St. Peter square is conducted to reveal how sensory urbanism can give us information about a specific place and its surroundings. In addition, these interviews will provide valuable feedback that will help to lead the research and project outcome. It is important to note that there is no framework or specified methodology for sensory urbanism to work on as it is affected by the culture, environment, and architecture of different places. This case study will help to demonstrate a consolidated document on the next stage for the region. A city always tends to develop and this dissertation might be used as the starting point to look at the essential tools before starting any further development in a city centre.



Aims 1.To study the importance of sensory urbanism and its impact on the city centre for urban refinement on its ambience. 2. To examine the study of sensory urbanism at City Centre in St. Peter square using the existing theoretical framework. 3. To demonstrate a consolidated document on the next stage for the region – using the outcome from the case study examination.   The research aims to answer “what makes a city a good place?”. To undertake a series of research, the dissertation will focus on explanatory case study approach on St. Peter square in City Centre by using qualitative understanding of the topic. Direct observation, interviews act as primary source under ethnography approach. Field descriptions, which identify and characterise the places and events recalled, should be used in conjunction with number of interviewees to give a foundation(Lynch, 1981) Methodologies & Methods Qualitative research Qualitative research is used to perceive how the inhabitants experience the world (Bhandari,2020). Using this method, it can help me to gather records of people opinions and thought directly or indirectly having clear understanding of their perception. As mentioned by Bhandari (2020) qualitative research uses many ways to gather information and collect as many information from the interpreting data. Ethnographic approach An ethnographic approach is a qualitative methodology used to help in the study of how people interact with one another, and with their social and cultural environment in St. Peter square through participant observation and face-to-face interviewing ( Morgan-Trimmer and Wood ,2016). As stated by Lynch (1981) the only way to get the outcomes is my undertaking a field observation and interviews parallelly as a testing tool. Arnold (2018) mentioned that sensory ethnography simultaneously with urban research (4.2.4) and artconscious, result in motivating the researcher to play, to view uniquely at the city, and to execute or work on art, furthermore she said that “Research becomes not only a study of the city but also a study of the experience of the city” (Arnold,2018).


Methods Observation Another essential methodology which works well parallelly with walking tool is observation as in this dissertation, the atmosphere in St. Peter square in Manchester City Centre needs constant analysing by observing how people interact with each other and their surroundings. Legibility, for example, is nearly exclusively a social construct, and these systems of environmental indicators are frequently unidentifiable to the cultural outsider(lynch,1981). However, any familiar observer can examine them for substance, accuracy, and intensity, and those conclusions can be corroborated by interviews and photographic simulation tests (serial vision) conducted with the locals. Observing the square can be in different seasons, occasionally or in unexcepted circumstance (COVID). Observation is recording of what is seen and heard or encountered in detailed field notes (Bhandari,2020). Interviews Interviews help to personally ask people questions in one-on-one conversations. It will provide a direct answer from the site, in this dissertation, as we discuss about urban ambience interviews can help to perceive the people opinions instantly. Interview is a methods in process of evaluations and used to find out the participants satisfactoriness in an involvement on the scene ( Morgan-Trimmer and Wood ,2016). Walking tool Walking tool goes simultaneously with observation and most of the data collected is using these two methods. Walking tool helps to explore the city and feel the leisure, pleasure and the desire of the place. Walking also referred as drifting in this dissertation, drift helps us in analysing the situations within the area and wander around to experiences the space, as stated by Debord that walking freely around the urban spaces would capture a revolutionary perception of the city (Sadler,1999). Serial vision Visual data is essential to see the perception of a place as it changes constantly when we walk around. Serial vision is a method used to collect visual data which helps in analysing the case study in a sequence of photos from all part of the urban area very important to show how the pedestrian perceives the space (Al-Saffar,2018) Mapping Mapping is another way of analysing a space while using the observation, walking around the space and here, you can analysis a different filed of atmospheres. Urban area will be illustrated using maps to produce the evaluation of each element on the urban space (AlSaffar,2018).


Secondary research (urban research) Secondary research is collecting existing data in the form of texts, images, audio or video recordings, etc. (Bhandari,2020). To understand the inhabitant’s perception of the atmosphere the secondary research collected with the data collected from the survey will provide us the answers and help us to generate tables maps, posters.

Objectives 1- Through participant observation and face-to-face interviews, an ethnographic methodology is employed to aid in the study of how people interact with one another and with their social and cultural surroundings in St. Peter Square. 2- Observation is the careful documentation of what is seen, heard, or encountered in the field. Observing the square in different seasons, on rare occasions, or in unusual circumstances (COVID) will aid us in conceiving space-place relationships.


-chapter 1 establishing aims, objectives and methodologies -chapter 2 the understanding of sensory urbanism and in drive to have a theorical understanding about the senses, especially relational to space and people in a city. This will also cover up the sensory dimensions, a solution towards the economy vision and cities competition. At the end of the chapter the possible approaches for sensory urbanism will be discussed, highlighting particular area of interest that are relevant to the study area. -chapter 3 lays on case studies that will be analysed to further understand the sensory urbanism in different contextual, and the scale of its effect on the built environment. -chapter 4 focuses on the contextual understanding by looking into the current context of the St. Peter square, to gain understanding on the existing conditions. -chapter 5 will present a critical overview of the aims initially set out in chapter one and the conclusion that have been made.


1.3.LIMITATIONS During this pandemic, it was quite difficult to get an answer to all of the questions with limited number of people and users. The restriction was spontaneous effecting my outcome, some places were not used, closed or restricted curfew. It effected the spatial analysis, conceptual approach on case study and the moral questions that needs to be further conducted about the sensory approach while analysing St. Peter square.





Senses play a big role when visiting, staying or passing by the space.There are several dimensions that change the urban atmosphere of a city from physical , cultural , sociological as demonstarted by (Redi,el al.,2008). Sensory urbanism is discussed in different disciplines – architecture, ethnography, environmental, microbiology, aesthetic, urban studies, cultural geography. It ‘s importnace is growing as the city centre needs a considerable design of the ‘sensory urbanism’ also known as multisensory design, for a better explorative,excitement space. In this chapter, the discussion will focus the understanding of sensory urbanism and in drive to have a theorical understanding about the senses, especially relational to space and people in a city. This will also cover up the sensory dimensions, a solution towards the built environment and sensory linguistic. At the end of the chapter the possible approaches for sensory urbanism will be discussed, highlighting particular area of interest that are relevant to the St. Peter square in Manchester City Centre.

FIGURE 1.02 MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE Source: Author, 2021 according to

FIGURE 1.02 ST. PETER SQUARE Source: Author, 2021 according to


2.1 SENSORY URBANISM “A Good Place is accessible to all the senses.” (Lynth,1981, p.132)

2.1.1 An introduction

Wallwork (2017) mentions that our cities need to be felt, heard and smelled rather than just being looked at, in addition she stated that the action of planning cities without overreliance on our sense of sight is said to be called as Sensory urbanism. It focuses on how to design a city without just considering the look and overdependent on sight, in fact the action needs a greater attention to how the city feels, smell and sound considering the abandoned senses. What do things look like? What colours do you see ? How far can you see ? What do you smell ? What sounds do you hear? What do you feel? What do you touch? To emphasises we can look at our favourite city on our phones or pictures which provides us tangible idea on how the city looks but how can you feel the ornamental on the architecture, or smell the spices in the open market, or the sound of the acoustic rainwater on the station. Thus, when designing the cities, the designer must be aware that their main detector of the sensory city is the local and the local must not feel that they are detached of their own place. Zardini (2005) also higlights that the concrete reality is that the locale are ignored while just focusing on the density of the physical built envirnoment . It is important to note that there is no framework or specified methodology for sensory urbanism to work on, but there are essential linkage of spaces, forms, functions, time, environment and users that will need to help to understand the dimensions of sensory urbanism.

2.2.2 Dimensions

Landry (2016,9), in his analysis of the “art” of designing the cities, argues that places lose their soul due to downplaying the sensory dimensions and he wonders, “How often do strategic urban plans start with the words ‘beauty, ‘love’, ‘happiness’ as distinct from the words ‘bypass’ or ‘planning framework’?” The sensory dimensions can be divided into three steps and each step will explains how it works. Each of the three sensory dimensions may be broken down into three steps, each of which will explain how it works. To begin with, sensory dimensions have filtered irregularly in research and space(s) design. This is due to the relative absence of sensory aspects of space. Often, sensory dimensions have not been expanded, even when they are relevant to the research agenda, because sensory dimensions challenge the basis of space control. Second, multisensory research has opened up possibilities for alternative ways of conceiving space–place relationships, as well as a reduction in the overreliance on conventionally reinforced theory in urban planning by recognising the need to draw on various other discipline theorizations that may directly or indirectly aid in comprehending multisensory research. Finally, in order to acknowledge the multi-modal features of spaces, significant attention must be paid to moral problems. 18

2.2 THE SENSORY LANDSCAPE OF CITIES – SENSESCAPE 2.2.1 the car & the senses

Imagine when a city is built inconsideration of the car rather than the pedestrian, the car reinforces the sensory experience of the city. Our senses have an indisputable impact on the city, which may be demonstrated using the automobile as an example. In the city’s urban context, what we see, smell, and hear is car-related: a concrete sound of engine hum, accentuated by beeps and horns; a persistent odour of petrochemicals pervades the air; the temperature is controlled by the mechanism of the fuel in the engine and the friction of the engine with the asphalt; and our sightline is controlled by metal and asphalt.In 1972, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour published “Learning from Las Vegas,” which used the city’s Strip to advance this kind of research, attempting to understand what happens to a city when it is traversed by car rather than foot (1972). Through the assembly and synthesis of media, buildings become symbols in these innovative scenarios. The sensory description of the city is inextricably related to the automobile. Charles (2006, p.47) stated” the car sights, smells and sounds that frequently confront us do not beckon or welcome us, or lead us to open out. Instead, we tighten up, close in our ears and noses and squint our eyes as we try to blank out the persistent roary growl of the cars or the leaden odour of fumes.” As a result, visitors are limited in their ability to experience the city, which portrays the antithesis of a good city with human connection, vibrancy, and vitality.

2.2.2 Linguistic shortcomings

When describing and exploring the senses, we do not have a well-developed language, much less in relation to the city. It’s difficult to establish and work with a rich related augment surrounding a sensation without the right words. Miller and Johnson-Laird (1976, p. 3) reminisce that “word-percept associations are fundamental” to language. Rakova (2003, p. 34) says we don’t have any words “just because it is nice for us to have them,” but because they are “devices that connect us to the external world.” In reality, language would be useless if it didn’t have the ability to express perceptual content. Sight and sound are both easier to describe and express the sensory experience, a plenty vocabulary surrounding physical appearances make it easier to describe the sights, whereas the sound has a bold element referring to language as well as visual signs can be to appropriate them: the buzz of a bee. Smell and taste, are seen evaded easy encapsulation. Smell differs from the other four senses as it is linked to the limbic system in the brain and it is compared to other senses since it is immediately unfiltered by language, thoughts, clutter, or translation (Landry,2006). The physical dominates the discourse of what cities look like, but there are no descriptions of movement, rhythm, or people.


This aesthetic language is heavily influenced by architecture and urban planning. Its principles are derived from fundamental classics such as Vitruvius’, with symmetry and harmony at its centre (Landry,2006). The language of architecture has been widened slightly, but it still focuses on static elements, whereas urban design perceives and describes cities as dynamic totalities. However, both frequently overlook the atmosphere of cities, as well as the sensation of looking at them. Is it engaging enough for you to want to take part? Let’s take a look at each of the senses one by one, beginning with hearing. 2.2.3 the look of the city

When we picture a city, we are likely to draw on earlier, possibly iconic, portrayals of it, especially if we haven’t visited it before. Our image will be purely subjective, shaped by our experiences and other narratives. The appearance of the city is determined by your placement and the layout of the city (Landry,2006). Are we looking at the city from distant or up close? Are we a high-flier or a low-flier? The strategic planner usually views the city from the air on large-scale maps, whereas the local planner zooms in and touches the surface of the pavements and houses. The engineers may examine structures, while the crime prevention officer searches for nooks and crannies with poor visibility and the thief, on the other hand, wants to create some uncertainty in the area. Let’s take some viewpoint of how the cities appear. What characterizes the city is its sense of pure packed physicality. The bigger we are in terms of height and bulk, the more similar we feel. For an instance, aside from the buzz, we enjoy marketplaces. It’s more reassuring because it’s on a more human size. Another prominent element is that materials are important. Building materials communicate with you in a variety of ways. Juhani Pallasmaa (1996) and Marinova (2019) both mentioned that there are several factors that linked to the sense of touch such as texture , weight, density ,heat. Witold Rybczynski also acknowledges that: “Although architecture is often defined in terms of abstractions such as space, light and volume, buildings are above all physical artifacts. The experience of architecture is palpable: the grain of wood, the veined surface of marble, the cold precision of steel, the textured pattern of brick.” (Rybczynski, 2001, p. 89). This has given a brief overview of the city’s appearance. There’s a lot more to discover. For example, we have focused on the exterior appearance of cities when there is much to be said about the indoor life of cities, particularly in cold areas. We could have gone below in other cities and investigated their metros and subways.



2.3.1 limits of sensibility The worth of a locality is difficult to define and varies greatly throughout people and cultures. Common meanings, on the other hand, do exist and are communicated. Lynch stated that the “formal” compositions of sense are identity(society) and structure(form), thus nobody wants to live in a place that is indefinitely vivid and where everything is inextricably linked to everything else (1981). We aren’t looking for a perfect 1:1 correlation between form and society. The ability to recognise things, timing behaviour, find one’s way, and interpret signals are all prerequisites for access and effective action, sense is a key functional problem (Lynch,1981). It’s also an important part of the emotional joy that comes with living in a desirable location, therefore people compete for it. The emphasis on the body also allows for the aesthetic evaluation of both inside and outside spaces, as well as connecting the experience of an architectural object to its larger context: its immediate surrounds as well as the environment at large. Because the experiencing body isn’t stationary, it moves around in space and is aware of its surroundings through perception and involvement (Merleau-Ponty 2012; Vignemont 2011).

2.3.2 change form & perception

Just as variables beyond individual control influenced early human life, such as day and night, darkness and light (Max Lüscher, 2015:155), urban environments are shaped by different forces - and regulations - that direct human behaviour (Ynetta Rawlings, 2015:11). Our surrounds in every area or urban environment are made up of a range of shapes and colours, each of which visually and semantically conveys a message to the observer and, depending on its function, elicits different mental and emotional responses at different times. While there have been numerous attempts to limit or suppress place legibility, efforts to cultivate and improve it are far less common. While historical dialogue is utilised to connect with the past, future connections are given less concern. Special groups’ perceptual requirements have yet to be widely considered: youngsters, the blind, the deaf, the elderly, the retarded, those in wheelchairs. It is also feasible to improve sensibility by strengthening the human ability to sense the surroundings, which is something that designers who are taught to focus on items are less likely to consider. Users can be taught to pay attention to their surroundings, to learn more about them, to order them, and to comprehend their significance. “Environmental education” is only now making its way out of the woods and fields into our cities (Lynth,1981). It does so while addressing social issues, making its work both hazardous and hopeful. Names, signs, recordings, symbols, and other similar devices can expand the amount of information provided and make the setting more understandable.


2.3.3 governance policy & application

Perceiving the space have most influenced on visual dimensions. The governance of the city is registered (e.g. CCTV, traffic flows, direction signposts) which result the visual being controlled (Rogerson & Rice,2009), the nature of control is affecting the senses. Soundscapes of the city have often eluded the visual in the past, and hence have been outside the reach of governance. The silent lens of the CCTV camera does not catch sounds, therefore descriptive signs to (visual) sites and areas do not include them. (Amin &Thrift,2003). However, soundscape study has revealed the creeping control that is stretching its tentacles into this realm. The use of music to sway buying moods and consumption experiences, the sound projected into public spaces such as clubs, pubs, and cafes as it pours out onto the pavements and sidewalks, and the design of sites to elevate (or lessen) customer and user chatter (e.g., Internet cafes and eating spaces in bookstores) have all made a significant contribution to a shift in space control and governance (DeNora, 2000).

2.4 CONCLUSION In the creation of cities, sensory urbanism is a critical aspect in determining the quality of space. It is important to note that there is no framework or specified methodology for sensory urbanism to work on as it is affected by the culture, environment, and architecture of different places, as a result, this demonstrates the authenticity of space creation in the city, the sensory methods are contextualised by enhancing the existing context, and a space to explore with our senses is created. St. Peter Square has a significant benefit because it is surrounded by municipal buildings, new office buildings, and transit. Nonetheless, the most important takeaway from this entire chapter on the senses is that the city is a sensual experience, which should never be disregarded when planning the future of a city. Above all, we experience the city through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.






3.1 AFTER THE NAPOLEONIC WAR St. Peter square was known as St Peter’s Field and the name was taken from the St Peter’s Church which was built in 1788 as shown in (figure 3.02) and was demolished in 1907, the Cenotaph was replaced (Manchester City Council,2021). The church was well known for its church acoustic music that provided different atmospheric spirit, gathering a huge number of residents, representing more as civic square. Now, in the same spot the garden is placed and also gave its name to peter street. In (figure 3.01) shows that the square as it old name St. Peter’s Field was not on the same spot; it was on Windmill Street towards the west of the existing St. Peter square. The square is the site for the city’s Remembrance Day commemoration each year (figure 3.01).

FIGURE 3.01 ST. PETER SQUARE IN 1819 Source: Author, 2021 according to



3.2 THE TOWN EXTENSION In the 1930s, the square was redeveloped around the construction of the Central Library (1934) and Town Hall Extension (1938).This development changed the urban atmosphere and the square moved to the existing site now due to high dominance of civic buildings and also as mentioned by Manchester City Council (2021) in 1992 construction of the Metrolink tram system, was the remarkable latest


FIGURE 3.03 ST. PETER SQUARE Source: Author, 2021 according to https://www.

FIGURE 3.04 ST. PETER SQUARE - WAR MEMORIALS IN 1960s Source: objects/common/webmedia.php?irn=71830&reftable=ecatalogue&refirn=28280

FIGURE 3.05 ST. PETER SQUARE IN 1960s Source:


3.3 THE URBAN TRANSFORMATION FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END 3.3.1 the urban atmosphere The comparison of St. Peter Square in three different eras based on five criteria that TABLE 1: theurban urbanenvironment. transformation from the beginning to the end influence the Building (Physical)

5 Senses




Public uses (Sociological)

Urban Atmosphere

(Psychological) 2 1 3

St.Peter square existing boundary of St.Peter square

Land-use : civic square Location : it is not at the current same location , it was to the west of midland hotel Size : relatively small Status : developing 2 Manchester Town Hall 3 Midland hotel 4 The Cenatoph 5 Manchester central Library

2 2 5



St.Peter square existing boundary of St.Peter square

2 2 5 3

1 ST.Peter Church 2 Manchester Town Hall 3 Midland hotel

4 6

St.Peter square existing boundary of St.Peter square

Land-use : transport/memorial statue Location : it is at current same location Size : half the existing size Status : developing 2 Manchester Town Hall 3 Midland hotel 4 The Cenatoph 5 Manchester central Library 6 new high-rise office buildings

St.Peter church was located at the centre of the square and it is known for its acoustic music, so the square used the hearing sense to create a uniqueness in the area.

It was an industrial era with high number of community in the city centre as workers.

Civic square, as it has gathered around 60,000 people for protest

The existing the church was known for its acoustic music that provided different atmospheric spirit.

The squares had stores near buy and the sound is dominating from the crowd trying buy grocery or coffee and also transportation

Many diverse ethnicities migrated to Manchester created diverse community

commercial public square

The shopping stores with porticos and the crowd of people buying goods, made the place more commercial and engaging area.

The square has two tram station which divide the square into half. It is calm and focal point with high follow of pedestrains.

Manchester ‘s economy has improved, as a result it is high dense with different community.

private sector square

The new high-rise office buildings made the place seems more private sector and the relationship between people and built environment.

Land-use : public square Location at the centre of the Manchester city centre Size : relatively large Status : welldeveloped

TABLE 3.1 : the urban transformation from the beginning to the end Buildings and its surrounding


3.3.2 Buildings surrounding St.Peter square



FIGURE 3.06 ST. PETER CHURCH Source: Source: https://manchesterhistory. net/manchester/churches/stpeters.html


FIGURE 3.08 MANCHESTER TOWN HALL Source: Author, 2021


FIGURE 3.10 MIDLAND HOTEL Source: Author, 2021


FIGURE 3.07 THE CENATOPH Source: Author, 2021





Same picture,same position,but different timing


Source : webmedia.php?irn=48395&reftable=ecatalogue&refirn=61404

The Cenatoph during the town hall extension in 1960s as mentioned in chapter 3.2 Source:

The tram station

current situation FIGURE 3.12 SAME PICTURE, SAME POSITION, BUT DIFFERENT TIMING Source: Author, 2021


3.4 the conclusion of St. Peter square in Manchester City Centre urban atmosphere transformation

Peter’s Fields, now known as St Peter’s Square sits at the top of Oxford Road and Peter Street and extends east towards Princess Street. It is noted for its purpose as a civic area and includes important buildings and monuments. It is described by Manchester City Council as “perhaps the greatest collective accolade to Manchester’s original modern heritage. In recent years, the square has been redeveloped with new high-rise office buildings, One St Peter’s Square and Two St Peter’s Square . As part of the redevelopment, the Cenotaph was relocated outside Manchester Town Hall in 2014 and St Peter’s Square tram stop. The outline of the church is marked in the paving around the square. The plans were criticised as bland, unrealistic and private sector orientated rather than public orientated.






4.1 IDENTIFYING THE MULTI-SENSORY FEATURES ON ST. PETER SQUARE 4.1.1 serial vision using observation survey

FIGURE 4.01 SERIAL VISION Source: Author, 2021


The serial vision will help to understand the place and it surrounding built environment. St. Peter square is the centre of the City Centre as a focal point and there are many entrances to the square as chosen in the figure 4.01 (1,3,7,9,13,16). In figure 4.01 (1,2,3,4), the path is interrupted by the cenotaph placed at the centre and it is the centre of the two tram lanes. (5,6,7), the view shows that to the left side is the tram station and to the right side starts from high office building and end up to restaurants. The east side of the square has modern buildings and looks more privatised by cooperated institutions. (8,9,10), the views show that there is seats and trees throughout the path and this side provide a sense of civic and cultural as the tower the left side of the view is the Central Library and Town Hall with the interesting Arcades, and on the right side is the tram station. (11,12,13), the passage between the Central Library and the Town Hall guides to the square or guide outward to the (14,15,16,17,18,19), it shows the path away from the library and here there is more seats available with shops to grab some coffee or snacks to enjoy the weather and it ends up to the other entrances side of the passage between the Central Library and the Town Hall.

4.1.2 observing and analysing St. Peter square for 5 months

Using walking tool and observation, St. Peter square have been analysed on 5 months term by walking for 10 minutes; first 5 minutes on silent walking paying attention to all the senses and next 5 minutes is an individual exploration by recording my own senses. Further explanation on each date is described in figure 4.01,4.02,4.03



It was during the lockdown, so a smaller number of people is seen, although it was the beginning of the holiday and some decorative elements were added on the square. The square looked shiny but dull because not many people were available.

It was raining and the sound from the raindrops, tram and the man who was playing the saxophone changed the atmosphere. There was no one, only few passengers using the tram. The combination of the music can change the atmosphere and sense of a place.

After New Year, still lockdown was not lifted, some pedestrians are seen in the square, but it was raining, so no one was seating or using the square. The square is less active on rainy day.

FIGURE 4.02 FIRST OBSERVATION Source: Author, 2021



FIGURE 4.03 SECOND OBSERVATION Source: Author, 2021



FIGURE 4.04 THIRD OBSERVATION Source: Author, 2021



4.2 hear walking route in Manchester City Centre The square sounds come most from the transportation vehicles which is not pleasant to hear but when it rains, the water echoes as the square being open, cities dominating sounds are human-generated such as transportations, sounds from industrial and domestic machines, tram noise due to friction, the sounds of traffic, and human voices. 4.2.1 Mapping (route) In figure,4.05,shows how the observation route was taken to analysis the hearwalk in St. Peter square and to indicate any specific sound recognised.


FIGURE 4.05 HEARWALK MAPPING Source: Author, 2021

4.2.2 Walking and observation route

FIGURE 4.06 HEARWALK ANALYSES Source: Author, 2021


4.3 TOUCH & TASTE WALKING ROUTE IN MANCHESTER CITY Touchwalking assisted in identifying the various textures and materials utilised in St. Peter Square. The square is well-balanced, and the variances in materials are difficult to detect. The identification of various materials around the seating area, for example, on the pavement, which is properly constructed to be accessible to all users, the implication of tactile pavement, which runs parallel to tram lanes,the pedestrian path and crossing are both smoothly moderated. The structure is made of various materials such as bricks, concrete, steel, and glass, and it dates from several eras. The square is well-designed, yet it is more of a passage than an interaction with humans.




4.4 SMELL WALKING ROUTE IN MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE In chapter 2, figure 2.22 shows the indicators of smellscape pleasantness. In St. Peter square, there are several indicators identified with the help of observation and interviews. - Cleanliness (clean-unclean) St. Peter square is big in size, open and only tram can access through it, therefore is no detecting smell link with waste and pollution. The square reflects a clean environment and no disturbing smell. However, the perception of cleanliness can differ, so one of the participants have mentioned that “The square is always clean and when it rains, the square smells cleanlier” - Calmness (calm-annoying) Xiao et al. (2018), according Russell (2003) people can feel free from stress, undisturbed and relaxed bring off the sense of calmness also Arnot (1994) adds that levels of anxiety can be regulated by smell. Great number of interviewers mentioned how the place is nice and calm to spend some time at. However, one of the interviewers stated out how the tram causes noise and disturb the calmness of the place. However, one of the interviewers stated out how the tram causes noise and disturb the calmness of the place. “We come here a few times because it is peaceful and I often come alone to seat and have a coffee. It is my favourite place in Manchester to hangout. I love everything in it but the most thing that I can resist is the Magnolia tree, I saw it like 4 years ago and since then I am obsessed about them. I love the library and the surrounding building “

- Liking (like-dislike) Xiao et al. (2018), according Herz (2006) people tend to recognise smell instantly and directly grasp their smell preferences that is linked through every day-life and release to like or dislike the smell they perceived. Interviewer didn’t mention any specific smellscape in the studied case of St. Peter square. “I am not sure whether I like it or not, while I pass by the square many people have their food with them or coffee to drink on the lovely weather. Usually, it depends on the food, if it is familiar or not to me, to like the smell or not, but the coffee smell, is always amazing”.


4.5 INTERVIEW Interviews help personally asking people questions in one-on-one conversations. It will provide a direct answer from the site, in this dissertation, as we discuss about urban ambience interviews can help to perceive the people opinions instantly. The interview focused on diverse set of user types that will help in data collection for these specific questions listed below: 1. Why are you here today? 2. Do you come here often? 3. Do you like this St. Peter square in Manchester City Centre? 4. Is there anything you really like or really hate about the St. Peter square atmosphere? 5. If you had to describe this St. Peter square in Manchester City Centre which three words, would you use? 6. what is the main feature that represent St. Peter square? 8 people of diverse set of users were interviewed, and each respond to the questions are as follows: In fig,4.08, reflect the interviewers respond to question 6, the black words are characterised as negative and the white word as positive feedback. It shows how the sensory linguistic is fixed on physical appearances and not on the experiences, or the perception of the square.




4.6 THE CHAPTER CONCLUSION This chapter is broken down into five pieces. The case study research in the first section reveals that St. Peter Plaza is a distinctive square that is open and large, with a mix of diverse municipal buildings. Looking at the flow of people, crossing and passing cars, and trams moving around provides visual delight. Visually, the location is appealing, but we can see that certain important factors for distinguishing a location, such as the necessity for a sensory notion, have been overlooked. It is large and clean, and it is surrounded by diverse users who are engaged in various activities for varying lengths of time, as illustrated in figures 4.02, 4.03, and 4.04. The interviews were put up for a variety of users with the expectation of receiving an immediate response. It displays the phrases they used to characterise St. Peter Square, with white indicating positive words and black indicating negative words. The interview’s outcome demonstrates how people are deficient in sensory linguistics; based on the responses, it is evident that the description is focused on physicals terms. The outcome of Chapter 4 is to examine and focuses on the current context of the St. Peter square in order to acquire a better grasp of the current situation. St. Peter Square is in the heart of the city, and as the city evolves, so does the square. Manchester’s urban planning council must evaluate the dimensions, there is significant potential to create sensory aspects of space in the square; combining sensory space with the existing built environment or other factors such as ecology can alter the square’s experience; it is critical to comprehend the root of the problem of the users not perceiving or feeling at home in their surroundings.





5 DISSERTATION CONCLUSION The sensory experience, sensory languages, and viewpoint of the built environment fabric of St. Peter Square were studied in this dissertation. The goals have looked into how the urban environment within the extents has become both disconnected and distinct from the city centre, as well as how highly contextual regeneration frameworks have acted as a barrier to improving and reconnecting(perceivable) the square to the city centre and its people. The groundwork of this research has been laid by two interrelated issues: perception and urban planning. On physical dominance of the discourse of what cities look like, urban planning has played a circular role in the strategic regeneration drawn out for ST. Peter square. This phenomena has served to highlight a variety of challenges, their various degrees of importance, the complications involved with each one, and the answers required to properly revitalise an area. On the other hand, perception had led to a better knowledge of the impact of the urban surroundings on movement, rhythm, and people. The sustenance of St. Peter’s Square, in my opinion, is profoundly anchored in a knowledge of the relationship between envisioning space–place relationships with people. St. Peter Square will become a landmark that people will orient themselves towards because it is the heart of the city centre and also the physical essence of the city centre. I believe that a perceptual link between people and the square has yet to be established, and that establishing and supporting effective square placemaking can help to change that. The case study analysis was critical in comprehending Manchester City Council’s aesthetically conscious vision for St. Peter Area, but it appeared to fail as a means of relinking the square with humans. As far as urban designers, planners, and architects are concerned, the ability to express perceptual content remains a serious issue. Theoretically, architecture and urban planning are significantly impacted by aesthetic language, and both commonly ignore the atmosphere of cities, as well as the sense of gazing at them. We need new vocabulary to think on this, as a methodical approach. As a result, the city’ atmosphere, sense of belonging, and other sensory experiences may be communicated. Aside from this issue, I feel that the initiatives taken to apply sensory design in cities are cause for celebration, since the general quality of urban environment may increase. I believe it is important to recognise that St. Peter’s Square is remarkable in that it is encircled by civic structures from many eras.


The heart of the city, in my opinion, is St. Peter Square. It is rich in history, culture, and legacy, all of which are excellent traits for kicking off a sensory square. The visual perception of St. Peter Square may be solved, while I feel the need to socially integrate the square is debatable, as people’s perceptual levels varies, but the public space and the conceiving of space-place relationships with the people must promote access to perception. The square is a first step in creating a sensory city. If St. Peter Square addresses the fundamental challenges of imbalance, peripheries, and symmetric division, it will provide more opportunities for people to experience the square, which will help to revitalise the urban setting for a sensory city. The question the paper aimed to investigate was: “What makes a city a good place?” Understanding people’s perceptions, not to mention the fact that perception is difficult to describe and varies considerably among people and cultures, is crucial, in my opinion. Learning about the problem at its most fundamental level will provide the means to address it, if not fully eliminate it.I believe that some level of urban space with sensory simulators is unavoidable, and that preparing for it will aid in the formulation of a sensory strategy for the rehabilitation of Manchester Square. Sensory city may affect the spirit of a place, the built environment, and the urban fabric, and they are all areas that can be successfully revitalised and regenerated. I believe that the cycle of life and death applies to cities, and that cities are always evolving, with Manchester City Council implementing sensory consciousness as part of the next evolution and progress. As a result, we must design in order to experience a sense of belonging in the square. To sum up, how can we know when a city is accessible to all of our senses? It’s difficult to set a standard to evaluate things against because the city is always changing, but we may rejoice in the modest historical St. Peter Square that has been completely restored. The site’s outcome was influenced by the pandemic’s spontaneous lockdown, but the dissertation’s concentration on theoretical knowledge can serve as a good reminder of what urban planners and architects should be doing. Our designs aren’t fixed in time and aren’t finite. Rather, they will evolve and age, and newer and brighter developments will cast a shadow over them. Adaptability and willingness to change with time and fit the needs of the new generation are thus critical to their ability to keep their ground.






Athena 1- I am here most of the time to get a coffee and seat because I love the atmosphere, the light and the benches and how it is not crowded. I also prefer it cross by St. Peter square to go to City Centre. 2- I come here really often like 3 time a week 3-i like it and it could be better but in general a nice atmosphere. 4-i like the sound of the man who play the saxophone but I don’t like the tram sound and how the tram divided the square into half. 5- clean, junction, tram 6- library The saxophonist 1- I was playing this instrument for 8 years and I have been playing it in St. Peter square for 3 years and I like this place as I can seat and people come and talk to me as well and I feel comfortable and the square is very transparent and I can see people regularly. 2- During the lockdown, I use to come every day but now I come 2 -3 days per week. 3- I love it 4- I like everything and there is nothing I dislike, even the tram sound doesn’t disturb with the music I produce, I just love everything in St. Peter square. It is like a centre of gravity where everyone come from different point and I love seeing people passing and moving around. 5- beautiful, comfortable, communicative 6- the new modern building Rebecca 1-I am going to meet up a friend to go to have a drink in like about 20 mins and it is like a meeting point with so many nice places. 2- I come very often 2 -3 times per week 3- I really like this place, 4 -the most I like about this place is the building, the bus and there is always a nice weather here for some reason and I dislike the homeless people here are annoying and disturbing. 5- busy, modern, pretty architecture 6- the new building office and the library too Alice 1- I got sushi with my friend and came here to eat together in this lovely weather 2- We come here a few times because it is peaceful and I often come alone to seat and have a coffee. 3- it is my favourite place in Manchester to hangout 4-I love everything in it but the most thing that I can resist is the Magnolia tree, I saw it like 4 years ago and since then I am obsessed about them. I love the library and the surrounding building 5- elegant, peaceful, old/new 6- library 55

Sara 1-i am here to have lunch with my friend 2-i don’t come here a lot and I prefer piccadilly gardens 3- It is ok. 4-I just like the water and I hate the tram sound, I hate the area and I don’t come here at all. 5- concrete, noise, tram 6- there is nothing here and only library and I don’t use it, no café or shops, no features. Brendon 1- I am on a date 2- I pass through, I am more pedestrian 3- I like this place 4- I like how calm it is compared to the other areas of the city and there is nothing I hate about this area. 5- calm, old-fashion, pretty 6- library Figgy 1- I am on a date 2-I come here once a week 3- I like everything in it. 4-i like how open and clean it is and there is nothing I dislike about this place. 5- open, classic, modern 6- tram Magda 1- I am here today passing by to go shopping and visit nearby restaurant. 2- I use to come here more often before for the library to visit and study and very big library. 3- I do like it, however there isn’t much to do like main attraction, restaurant and shop, these are available more inside the city not in St. Peter square. There is not much to do other than catch the tram. 4- there is not I really dislike, it’s just got a little bit too crowded sometimes, I really like the building and it is really nice to go and visit. 5- busy, attractive, eventful 6-the buildings -they are very big and they standout a lot, especially the library.






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