Destination Hull – Culture Led Regeneration from the Built Environment to Lived Experience: PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2023 Retrospective


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Over the past decade, UK City of Culture has brought in over 5 million visitors to Hull and created over 800 jobs, many more have been recruited into new industry sectors such as offshore wind energy (Siemens Gamesa’s wind turbine factory has delivered in excess of 1,000 jobs), and throughout this time Hull has continued to innovate, evolve and transform.

“A key driver for this seismic shift”, says Kath Wynne-Hague, Hull City Council’s Head of Culture, Place and City Centre, “was the investment made in the built place, grounded in the place and its people and aspirational in its quality”.

Now, in 2023, “Hull is looking at how to revive and enliven the lived experience of space, through behavioural insights intelligence and understanding of human needs, motivations and understanding to soften and create a space that works for all”.

Kath’s keynote at PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2023 showcased the process, projects and methodology that have led to and continues to lead the transformation of Hull.

Summary of presentation highlights:

  • Repositioning Hull and its City Centre in the context of: Market failure; Challenges of age profile (missing working age); Continued public sector cuts;
  • Jobs, jobs, jobs – Creation of 7,500 additional jobs for local people: “Transitioning from duplicate retail to using the historic fabric of the city to create unique independent product”;
  • Strategic City Plan – Working with partners and investors to transform Hull into a truly world class visitor destination and capitalising upon the city’s location, architectural and cultural assets and unique history to make each project a vital stop on this journey: e.g. A cruise terminal; C40@The Dock; The regeneration of Hull’s historic Fruit Market; A spectacular footbridge over the A63; A new 4-star hotel, music and events centre; Ferens Art Gallery facelift; Connecting Hull’s interchange to the heart of the city; Revitalising city parks and gateways; Hull New Theatre; Queens Gardens facelift; Re-energising Hull’s Old Town; River Hull Revival; Historic gateway to North America; Public Realm Key Realm Route etc – “Connecting a small city (approx. 250,000) around the proximity of its assets”;
  • Place Shaping – How you build the behaviours of the space that’s not yet built, not just how people see it;
  • Public Realm – City Centre Before and After Case Studies:
  • Jameson Street and Jameson/Kind Edward Street @ NEW TOWN – “A driver to getting Hull ready for 2017” and “a vehicle for change”;
  • Queen Victoria Square @ NEW TOWN – From “The worst culprit of the bad public space book” and “pedestrian roundabout in the city centre” to “A prime events space, place of play and urban park” with fountains, lampposts, lighting and projections which can be controlled from a phone app;

  • Beverley Gate @ OLD TOWN – Working with Transport companies towards “a night time economy hub for rerouting buses”; Reconnecting people to Hull’s history as a Yorkshire port; Creating “a conurbation of culture and coalition of willing”;
  • Whitefriargate @ OLD TOWN – Transforming the retail offer with the Hull HSHAZ (High Street Action Zone); Investing in lighting which links (via app) to other lighting to illuminate the whole city in different ways but as one system;
  • Trinity Square @ OLD TOWN;
  • Humber Street and Humber Dock Street @ FRUIT MARKET;
  • Visitor Destination and “The People Element” – A city that provides a quality visitor experience for those who live and work in Hull as well as for national and international visitors: >1,000 construction jobs >600 permanent jobs >GVA to local economy of >£330M and 9:1 Private/Public Spend = An enhanced cultural, retail and leisure offer; Cultural strategy that aligns people, place and productivity with economic strategy; Incorporating “community based tourism” into the visitor experience; Events, animation and “tapping into the emotional side”; Hull film production benefits; Conducting an audit of public art etc

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at The Shipping Office (Lloyds House), Manchester, for the live in-person event on July 4th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Kath’s keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, planners, place makers, architects, green space managers, urban designers, highways & street scene, transport & mobility and high streets & regeneration professionals from councils and local authorities (city, borough, metropolitan, district, county and combined); people and place partnerships; developers, landowners and creators of privately owned public spaces; prime contractors and city centre management companies; DfT, DEFRA, MHCLG, EA and supporting governmental bodies; transport authorities, highways agencies and public transport operators; civic organisations and community groups; and other key players from the public realm ecosystem with responsibility for managing, maintaining and operating our streets, squares, forecourts, parks, pathways, retail centres, car parks, airports, ports, travel hubs, hospitals, housing estates, campuses, communal gardens and the assets contained within these public or semi-public spaces.

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PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how to harness innovation, technology, data science, design and best practice to create the next generation of smarter spaces and places in our cities and regions. PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2023 will be hosted in Manchester on July 4th.


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