We wanted to help our home town become more sustainable by making more people friendly public realm. The city centre of Swansea was largely destroyed in the three nights Blitz of the Second World War, and post-War planning (as with many British city centres that suffered the same fate) sought to plan for cars. Coupled with a reorientation of the wider connections from the city to the surrounding area and a number of poor highways interventions in subsequent years, the city centre suffers from a very poor highways infrastructure that delivers a very poor public realm, and in recent years has been blamed for pedestrian fatalities as well as a dwindling city centre economy. As a regeneration company based in the city, we wanted to help to develop the debate and raise aspirations in terms of what could be achieved.
What we did
We assembled a range of sponsors and arranged a 2 day study visit with renowned expert Ben Hamilton-Baillie, which included meetings with the City and County of Swansea Council’s officers as well as Natural Resources Wales. We also sponsored a public talk by Ben, attended by a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations and hosted by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, with kind support from the City and County of Swansea Council, Natural Resources Wales, and Wheelrights – a Swansea-based cycling group.
Results of our work
The public event and 2 day study visit were very successful in highlighting a range of issues and solutions to reconcile people, places and traffic with low speed, shared space solutions. The feedback from participants was excellent and succeeded in stimulating debate and raising aspirations in terms of what could be achieved in the city.