A Regeneration Strategy for Sunderland ARC

14 July 2000 | blog, cities, frameworks, neighbourhood, strategy, town centres

Sunderland ARC Riverside

We were part of the EDAW team who were appointed to produce A Regeneration Strategy for Sunderland ARC – Area Regeneration Compact. The Sunderland ARC Task Group was originally appointed in June 1999 by the former Trade and Industry Secretary, Rt. Hon. Stephen Byers MP. This followed the closures and associated job losses at Grove Cranes and the Vaux Brewery, both of which were key private employers in traditional industries close to the City Centre. The Task Group was charged with developing and implementing a strategic vision to tackle the severe economic and social problems facing a substantial area of Sunderland and its communities.

Excerpt from Strategy Report:

Urban Design – Strategic Direction

The key is to drive forward the overriding philosophy to design and develop new buildings and public space that celebrates the River and to make the City Centre more attractive and user friendly than has been achieved to date. Adopting the urban design principles outlined in the City Centre Strategic Diagram and Investment Framework with help to guide the nature and scope of new and refurbished buildings and public realm.

Urban Design – Policy and Project Themes

  • Promote a more concentrated and integrated compact City Centre in terms of scale and building lines and thus increase and reinforce a sense of place
  • To pursue sustainable design principles that include a focus on higher density development in the City Centre and near public transport nodes and design features like south facing glazing to maximise passive solar gain
  • Build upon the distinctive identities of the different locations within the ARC area such as Old Sunderland and Claxheugh and Pallion whilst increasing their connectivity and functional relationships
  • Ensure that all buildings address the street well, particularly at ground level
  • Encourage energy efficient buildings and buildings which have facilities providing for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Encourage the selection of materials for new or refurbished buildings which recognise and contribute to the particular location in the corridor not just the building in isolation
  • Encourage designers of schemes to provide urban design statements to support and explain their proposals in their context
  • Encourage new and refurbished buildings, particularly buildings in the City Centre to include a creative lighting scheme
  • Encourage opportunities for the development of tall buildings in appropriate locations in the City Centre, giving careful consideration to the shadow and wind impact of such buildings

Public Realm/Open Space – Strategic Goals

Overall the aim should be to place greater emphasis on the River, streets and the quality of the pedestrian experience to ensure that the ARC area becomes more attractive to users, developers and investors. The objective is to produce more co-ordinated and user friendly townscape, not only for pedestrians and cyclists, but also for drivers and public transport users. The result will be a more contemporary and durable streetscape

Public realm – Policies and Project Themes

  • Link new and existing public spaces by improved streetscape treatment.
  • Incorporate public art, planting, lighting and water features into the new and enhanced spaces
  • Introduce new higher quality street surfaces, particularly along busy pedestrian routes and at major public spaces. These should be simple and robust using natural materials wherever possible
  • Break down the barrier effect of the Inner Ring Road and Eastern Relief Road on pedestrian movement using street level crossings where possible
  • Create new open spaces at strategic locations to increase legibility and the general conviviality of the City Centre
  • Integrate important rail/Metro and bus routes in a positive manner where the interface between structures and pedestrian flows is critical
  • Mitigate against the visual dominance of the motor car and enhance the perception of pedestrian comfort. This applies not only to roads but also to car parks.