Wakefield Urban Greening Strategy

Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Wakefield Urban Greening Strategy
Title:Wakefield Urban Greening Strategy, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Markets:Residential, Retail and Workplace, Public Realm, Parks and Green Spaces, Mixed-use
Client:Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
Services:Masterplanning and urban design
Region:United Kingdom
Team:Gillespies | Wakefield Council
Photography:Images copyright Gillespies
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The strategy analysed the existing urban grain of the city and its streets and spaces, and then proposed suitable potential urban greening opportunities for individual locations using city-wide mapping and sequencing.

The conceptual proposals for typical urban greening projects give clear guidance on how this framework can be practically delivered across different areas of the city centre.

The content of the study aligns with the current emerging city centre masterplan, further developing the green-blue plan. The framework also takes into account the emerging Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) proposals, and future projects coming forward via the government Towns Fund and Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones cultural programme (HAZ), and other significant developments across the city centre. Wider city centre initiatives and infrastructure such as drainage, topography, highways, cycling provision, parking, land uses, facilities and utilities all inform the urban greening proposals and enable a coherent, comprehensive, and robust strategy.

Strategic opportunities and proposals for the framework address some of the bigger social and environmental issues affecting our city centres.

These include the climate emergency, life within a pandemic, health and well-being for the local community, biodiversity, sustainable drainage systems, people (rather than vehicle) -focused environments, more sustainable modes of travel, and resilient spaces that are future-proofed against climate change. Our analytical approach used geographic information systems (GIS) and other metrics to define baseline data and to help decisions on the location and type of urban greening intervention.

To do this we developed a set of metrics to help assess the viability and benefits of introducing green infrastructure to each space or street. We ran physical site-based assessments to test and ratify the draft findings of our desk research.

The assessment results are illustrated with a series of maps, setting out each of the key urban greening proposals and the strategies that connect them together across the city. We also developed a comprehensive sequencing of all streets and spaces in a matrix to go with the maps. Our indicative design concepts and guidance for key spaces provide a representation of the types of streets and spaces.

The study concludes by focussing on the city’s key space, the Bull Ring, showing in more detail how this could be ‘greened up,’ with a proposed illustration highlighting a variety of interventions at varying scales.

Feedback from the steering group for the project was extremely favourable.

Awards

  • 2023 Shortlisted for World Landscape Architecture Award - Concept Analysis and Planning