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Urban Design

Vision Statement

Sheffield is undergoing a process of reinvention and transformation of far reaching effect.

Strategic frameworks are in place for guiding the regeneration of the city economically, culturally and socially. Counteracting the decline of Sheffield’s traditional manufacturing role, they contain the vision of Sheffield as a centre for innovation, creativity, learning and technology.

The Urban Design Compendium offers guidance on how this new direction and energy can be translated into the city’s physical environment. The Compendium sees Sheffield founding its future reputation on the outstanding design of its buildings and public spaces – as a city of beauty and a joy to experience.

The City Centre Masterplan, prepared by Koetter Kim in 2000, has outlined the vision for Sheffield’s regeneration and the key projects which will achieve this aim. Building on this strategy, major initiatives are being envisaged and realised, such as the Winter Gardens, the Millennium Galleries, the Heart of the City projects and the New Retail Quarter. The early successes of these flagship projects have put Sheffield back on the map and will underpin the continued regeneration of the City Centre.

The shift in the city’s economic drivers will continue to see dramatic changes in land use and built form. With an ever increasing number of buildings adapted to new uses or sites opened for redevelopment, the Urban Design Compendium creates the setting for this growth and activity. The Compendium offers a scenario of how the city can evolve towards 2025 and how these changes in its physical form can provide valuable opportunities for its reinvention.

Coupled with the growth of Sheffield’s knowledge and culture based industries is an increasing awareness of the vital role that good design plays in creating a sustainable and competitive city. Leading cities, or regions, of the twenty-first century are now seen as those which are able to attract and retain creative talent and inspire business confidence. A well designed urban environment with a distinctiveness of place is a fundamental requirement for achieving this aim. The setting for cultural and creative lifestyles in a city’s streets, spaces and buildings, and the activities they generate, will be created through investment in urban design and architecture.

As a fundamental intention of the Compendium, the ongoing regeneration of the City Centre will be design-led. The strategic objectives, visions and detailed guidance of the Compendium provide the framework for managed evolution of the urban fabric in coming years, setting a standard for excellence in architectural design and the quality of the public realm.

These are based upon a detailed analysis of the city’s history, environment and current influences, set out in Parts 1 and 2. From this analysis, the strategic guidance of Part 3 for the future built form and public realm design of the City Centre has been developed.

Part 4 of the Compendium then examines the City Centre quarters in detail, identifying the unique character and quality of each and the influences which are effecting change. A vision statement shows how each quarter might evolve and principles are set out to guide future development. Detailed public realm design guidelines in Part 5 complement the activity and changes promoted in each quarter.

The mechanisms to produce lasting change – how the city can achieve a consistently high quality of design – are detailed in Part 6.

The Compendium engages the many factors which are shaping the city – planning and transportation policy, economic development, promotion of tourism, the property market and sustainability, to name a few – as the basis for the design guidance. All of these influences are drawn together to help create a city that has a strong sense of place and identity, that functions efficiently for all its citizens and is safe, accessible and easily navigable for its residents and visitors.

The guidance provided in the Urban Design Compendium will see the urban environment of Sheffield transformed to a standard that reflects its role as a leading city in the UK and Europe. Within this context, Sheffield will become:

  • A city that offers a diversity of experience, culture and activity. The streets are the focus of the city’s life and the quality of the pedestrian experience is paramount.

  • A city that expresses the many layers of its history and evolution in its urban fabric. While preserving the diverse wealth of Sheffield’s historic buildings, the potential of sites which are ripe for redevelopment is simultaneously embraced to create the heritage of the future.

  • A city that actively promotes sustainable development - not only in terms of reducing energy consumption, but also producing a quality of development which will function well and be a pleasure to experience.

  • A city that is reconnected with its natural heritage, where the rivers become vital green spaces running through the city, alive with waterway activity.

  • A city that rewards quality development with a high return on investment.

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