Friday, 21 June 2013

Lessons from Sheffield

As the days progress and the tour draws close to ending, different perspectives and views detrimental to classifying Sheffield are all circling around the themes I have chosen to follow for the major assessment to be completed by the start of August. On the tours undertaken around Sheffield, but most prominently to nearby central hubs and neighbouring regional centres, Sheffield quickly became notable in comparison to how other major cities have evolved and grown in relation to their locality and production after the industrialisation period.
 
Take Leeds for example, once regarded as a run-down town not worthy to claim any regards of honour. Today however, while Leeds' past is still not forgotten amongst locals, the city itself has risen to the challenge of sustaining and renaming itself as a major city.
 
Liverpool has drastically redeveloped Albert Dock from a functioning freight dock to a strip of confectionery, restaurants and small retail shops to utilise the existing space, redeveloped to cope with the changing demands of the city without subsidising derelict and abandoned structures that are no longer used or in production.
 
Likewise in my topic, I’ll be examining Sheffield closely to examine how it is to survive as a city as the time passes and no major restructuring or reinvention of its theme is undertaken. We constantly bang on about its profound history and prowess in controlling the stark majority of metal steel production of the 18th to 19th century, what has the city done to cater for the change in output versus demand aspect of the twenty first century?
 
The group project undertaken during this study tour, as part of the assessment, also assists in clarifying how to visualise locations and aspects of Sheffield through planning, historical and archaeological ‘eyes’ to determine and ‘read’ the vision before us in understanding the bigger picture. Kelham Island; subject location being observed for the group task, visually looks distraughtly neglected and beyond rejuvenation, but amongst the static remnants of what once was a bustling factory remains clear justification to confirm that rejuvenation through reinvention is possible and ,most importantly for politics, successful. Kelham Island brewery and The Fat Cat pub are covered in heritage, even battered by time itself, yet they still stand. Most buildings of the area weren't always what their functioning as today, they have been redeveloped for a different purpose but with minimal disruption to the foundation and environmental prospects usually required for a space to be redeveloped.

Through all of Sheffield’s charms and heritage stand incredibly potential pockets of land, occupied physically at the moment, to revive Sheffield into the fluid city that it once used to be visualised as when it was running at its peak potential. It’s possible, but what is been done to achieve the sought after success story observed in other cities worldwide, likewise: will London or Dubai find itself in the situation Sheffield is engaged in today? Only time will tell…

- Phineas Istratoaie (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

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