Stitching the Urban Fabric
An approach to masterplanning for change, a response to Glasgow’s long-term future of high streets; the project involves socially and physically connecting a neighbourhood to its context, delivering a cohesive urban fabric qualifying community living and sustainable lifestyle
VISION | PRINCIPLES | PROCESS
The proposal envisions the concept to redevelop and integrate a neighbourhood of Shawlands, to find a cohesive and holistic relation between various urban activities to transform it into a destination filled with character, connectivity and sustainable community. Therefore, focusing on areas deprived of high street facilities, aiming to reconnect or “stitch” the neighbourhood to make a complete community.
-Ensure diverse and lively neighbourhood, that boosts community living and local economy
-Reinforce the neighbourhood’s connectivity and ensure active sustainable networks
-Enhance the living environment by introducing safe and friendly public spaces
-Revive the heritage of the neighbourhood bringing in character and sense of place
The design process stems from addressing the need of community living for a deprived neighbourhood of Shawlands. This comes after acknowledging the long-term future of high streets. It started with contextualising the area in its physical form, historic development and identifying the social-economic trends with the services and infrastructure. This gave way to critically analyse and interpret the findings to form a comprehensive strategy for the neighbourhood and its community needs. The strategy for re-imagining the urban fabric chalks certain streets, physical structures and new developments for retention as for their potential and usage, and then aiming to build a foundation considering these structures. Following the local urban codes, a detailed masterplan is laid out, giving a practical approach and a series of interventions to integrate the neighbourhood into rest of Shawlands in a coherent, interconnected and sustainable manner.
OUTCOMES | LESSONS LEARNED
The design is accomplished with details and strategy. It addresses the target areas of the neighbourhood formulated during strategic phase, with balanced social, physical, environmental and economic interventions. The detailed masterplan is a feasible communication augmented from strategies and concepts. It presents an overall change in the urban fabric that was envisaged in the development process. Project’s vision illustrates following defined interventions:
- Improved street edges and active frontages
- Safe pedestrian environment and street networks
- Celebrating and reinforcing local character and heritage
- Encouraging sustainable living
- Friendly public spaces and pocket parks
- Community oriented
It connects the site intimately, unites the urban characteristics, therefore, sufficing the transformation of “Stitching the Urban Fabric”, a neighbourhood with distinctive character, connectivity and sustainable community.
Transforming a neighbourhood into a destination, requires a dialogue between design, users and collaboration to unlock its potential. This was a learning process of designing a vision for redevelopment and regeneration. We learned different techniques for site analysis and identifying intervention areas. This includes site visits, helping to tackle hidden local issues practically yet sensitively. Difficulties arose while developing a vision for high-street in a well defined urban form and devising interventions. Further studying the current developments in the area, an alternative proposal was presented acknowledging the design theme: addressing the surrounding context and strategising urban interventions that benefits the community and environment coherently. As cities are gaining momentum of “20 minute neighbourhoods”, it is crucial to think on urban interventions that helps design places of public interest and comfort.
Aanchal Agrawal + Shinjini Basu
University of Strathclyde