REIMAGINATION OF OUR CITY CENTRES
Studio BAD : Architects were asked to put together a feasibility study into the future for the areas surrounding Bedford Place in Southampton, following the temporary road closure in this area to help combat the Covid19 pandemic. Our proposals looked at strategies to activate and animate the area and create opportunities around how the temporary road closures might benefit all in the community and might future proof the high streets.
Located to the north of the city away from the main modern shopping malls, the Bedford Place district boasts many Listed buildings from the ‘Regency’ era and is well known for its vibrant independent boutiques and retailers. The temporary road closure had created pedestrianized zones, to assist with social distancing measures and the additional need for outside seating at pubs and restaurants. The road closures were also part of the Southampton City Councils Green Transport Recovery Plan.
Our feasibility proposal interrogated how we can change the dynamic of the streets in this area, taking the focus away from cars and making it a greener, friendlier place for people in the community. Some design ideas included the introduction of incremental meanwhile solutions, such as decorating concrete barriers, additional planters and bedding plants, replace the existing signage with more inviting messaging, replacing the lighting, install bunting across the road, paint road surfaces and looking at the possibility of activating the space through hosting outdoor events throughout the calendar year.
The design strategy maximises the strengths and conditions of the existing setting, whilst exploiting the potential of the urban history and community, which serves such a rich narrative to this part of the city, to hopefully create a positive and vibrant experience for all those who live and visit this area.
Giles Semper, Executive Director of GO! Southampton BID, said: “We are desperate to see Bedford Place return to its glory days and be the boutique quarter that a city like Southampton deserves. Our hope is that the closed section of Bedford Place can be dressed and animated in such a way that it creates a new destination that is safe and attractive.’