Leeds Our Spaces Strategy
The Leeds Our Spaces document sets out Leeds City Council’s “vision for the creation of vibrant, inclusive, world class city centre public realm”. The strategy seeks to stitch together the existing city centre with the extensive development proposed to the south of the city as part of the South Bank Leeds Regeneration Framework and the Integrated Station Masterplan.
Civic Engineers’ contribution was to identify areas where surface water might be better managed using Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), particularly relevant in Leeds after the Boxing Day floods in 2015. We also looked at ways of consolidating bus stops and reducing carriageway widths to make better use of the spaces between buildings, especially in areas where general traffic has been restricted and the majority of users are now pedestrians. Promoting cycling as an attractive mode of travel for all ages and abilities is another key objective, and the city centre infrastructure should reflect the growing importance of this.
Alongside Re-form landscape architects, we developed a series of high-level strategies for the development of spaces and streets around the city. As funding comes forward for the various transport schemes and development proposals, these principles will feed into the detailed designs, making sure that the public realm is working as hard as possible to facilitate movement, biodiversity and amenity, contributing to the socio-economic success of the growing city. The strategy also includes measures of success, detailing how public spaces should meet 7 objectives including inclusivity, sustainability, cultural and economic contribution, as well as setting out key principles for some specific locations, such as the area around the Corn Exchange, frequently cited as Leeds’ most beautiful building.