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Britain is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Marine transportation is the backbone of British transportation and trade, and many famous port cities have also been built. The waterfront has become the main entrance to the port city, and itself has become the most dynamic trading area in the city. In the later period of the industrial revolution, railway development occupied the shipping industry, and the port utilization rate declined. With the abandonment of the waterfront, port cities with shipping as the pillar industry rapidly declined. In the 20th century, the waterfront began to become an important object of British urban renewal. In the 1980s, London first began to renovate the waterfront. Later, the waterfronts of small and medium-sized cities, such as Cardiff Bay and Liverpool Albert Dock, also began to update. To date, more than 200 waterfront renewal projects have been initiated in the United Kingdom, showing the importance of waterfront renewal to British city revival.

Liverpool is an important

port city along the Mersey River in northwestern England. The waterfront is the main area of ​​Liverpool’s urban renewal. The scope of the renewal is mainly concentrated on the west bank of the Mersey River and the central area of ​​the city. The renewal process of Liverpool Waterfront is roughly divided into three stages: the first two stages are more focused on cultural and tourism-driven, mainly government investment or government-led multi-party investment; the latter stage begins to strengthen pure business and residential development Mainly private investment. A total of six main projects have been completed so far, with a total area of ​​more than 1.8 million square meters and a time span of more than 30 years

2 Three update stages2.

1 Top-down waterfront physical environment reform (1980-1997)

In 1981, the first official document of the MDC, “Initial Development Strategy,” established the mixed-use nature of waterfront land: 55% for industrial land, 40% for commercial entertainment and residential land, and 5% reserved. Land for the port. In 1988, in response to the market’s demand for the cultural tourism industry, MDC changed its strategy to increase the proportion of land for tourism and cultural industries, and has launched two flagship projects: the International Garden Festival site renovation and the Albert Pier renovation (The Restoration of Albert Dock).

Built in 1846, Albert Dock was the world’s first fire-resistant pier, and closed in 1972 due to continuous decline. The wharf was heavily bombed during World War II, and it was added to the Grade Ⅰ listed building by Historic England in 1952. In 1983, MDC established the Albert Dock Company to initiate the renewal work, and launched a series of renovations and new constructions around the historical heritage status of the terminal.

First of all, the renewal work improved the physical environment of the quayside, repaired the dilapidated quay system, improved roads and re-established links with the city centre Since then, the city government has successively introducedor constructed the Merseyside Maritime Museum (1986), the Tate Liverpool (1988), and the Beatles Story Museum (1990). On the one hand, these projects continue to improve the material image of the terminal, and on the other hand, they introduce “cultural tourism” to the site and become external attraction points. The entire renewal plan ended in 2003 with an investment of more than 25 million pounds. The museums on the terminal attract 2 million tourists each year. The renewal plan was successful.

2.2 Image Creation of Waterfront Promoted by Urban Competition (1997-2012)


In 1997, the Labor government came to power, focusing on improving the status of cities and encouraging urban competition. The construction of the city’s physical environment has shifted to image creation and place making.

Liverpool responded quickly to this wave. In 1999, Liverpool Vision was set up as an update agency, and in 2002 it issued the “SRF: the Strategic Regeneration Framework”. Key content: First, protect the city’s historical sites, and second, build the city’s image and brand.Based on the guidance of the SRF, Liverpool’s urban construction has made two significant achievements.The first is that parts of the city were included in the World Heritage Site (WHS: World Heritage Site) in 2004. WHS has set up a Character Area, which contains a total of six characteristic plots, which are mainly developed along the waterfront shoreline; the outer buffer zone (Buffer Zone) contains most of the city’s central area; the list also makes new building heights in different sections Regulations.The second achievement was Liverpool’s title of European Capital of Culture (ECoC 2008) in 2008. This award aims to promote the connection of European culture to the outside world and the urban revival internally through festivals. The Liverpool government combined the ECoC event with the physical environment of the waterfront, which significantly enhanced the city’s brand.During this period, three main projects were completed in the waterfront area renewal: Pier Head area renewal, Paradise Street Development Area “Liverpool One”, and King’s Waterfront Area. (King’s Waterfront) Transformation.

Among them, the dock area update is the most typical. The top of the pier is one of the most important pier in the Liverpool waterfront. All of them are located in the WHS protected area and are known for their three Edwardian landmarks, Three Graces. The renewal plan covers an area of ​​2.5h㎡, and the main works include the Museum of Liverpool, Mann Island Development, and public area and canal landscape reconstruction.

The update plan divides the southern part of the dock top area into two parts, with the Liverpool Museum as the center on the west side and the Isle of Man development on the east side. The museum project fully respects the surrounding historical buildings and the waterfront environment. The first is a simple and modern shape. The façade is made of undulating glass, reflecting the shape of the “Three Goddesses”, while allowing the inside and outside sight to penetrate. , Set up observation steps facing the waters, ensuring a good sight from Albert Dock to the “Three Goddesses” and also providing venues for business and leisure functions. 

The project plans three “transitional” public spaces. The first is the intersection of the city center and the sidewalk. As the “opening” of the pier area facing the city center, the line of sight can reach the entire pier renewal area; the second is two Between the blocks of the residential block and its overhead part, facing the canal dam, it can be used as a temporary exhibition venue; the third is surrounded by two blocks and the canal dam, and is the main leisure activity venue for citizens. All the facades of the buildings on the site are made of black glazed glass, which is in strong contrast with historical buildings, and also truly reflects the image of the surrounding environment.

2.3 Private investment-led waterfront business district construction (after 2012)

Since entering the era of economic globalization, capital flows have become more free, urban competition has intensified, and attracting investment and creating jobs have become the main tasks of urban rejuvenation. Unlike the first two stages, which mainly use the renewal of the physical environment and the culture and tourism industry to drive economic growth, Liverpool’s current renewal strategy has more clearly shifted to focusing on business clusters to attract investment, while increasing the proportion of supporting residential development. The waterfront renewal at this stage is mainly dominated by private investment. It consists of a series of relatively independent and interconnected renewal areas (rather than being in an integrated and defined development framework). The renewal time is relatively long.

The main waterfront renewal project implemented during this phase is Liverpool Waters. The project was started by the developer PEEL in 2007. In 2010, the specific development content was determined and a development application was submitted. In 2012, it was approved by the government and started to be implemented. The project is located in the dock area on the north side of Liverpool, and 42% of the area is in the WHS protected area. The development site starts from the north side of the dock top area and extends northward to Bramley Moore Dock. It covers an area of ​​about 60h㎡ and is expected to invest more than 5.5 billion pounds, with a time span of about 20-40 year.

The main body of the “Liverpool Waterfront” plan is a multi-story building group that spreads along the river bank, in which two sets of high-rise buildings are inserted, the highest building can reach 195m. The update plan divides the site into five groups, which are developed in different periods. It is estimated that more than 9,000 residential units, 70,000 square meters of hotels and conference space, 300,000 square meters of business space and a series of public spaces will be constructed. The implementation indicates that Liverpool Waterfront has significantly strengthened the functions of business gathering and high-end living on the basis of cultural tourism.




One response to “British Urban Design and Urban Revival”

  1. Urban waterfront space is an important living and leisure place for people and an important part of urban open space. Waterfront space is also a common project type in the landscape. Through the creativity of the designer, the landscape interface between water and land is planned to show the characteristics of urban water veins. At present, many cities in the world regard waterfront as an important development strategy for urban renewal and redevelopment, which is conducive to improving urban environment quality, enriching urban landscape and promoting urban social and economic development. For example, the promenade of benidomsi, Spain.
    Benidorm is probably one of the most representative Spanish cities, with its small land area, dense buildings and large leisure and tourism industry. In the competition to renovate the 1.5km west promenade, the designers proposed a pioneering concept that has yet to be applied to any other promenade design in the world. The promenade is not only a protection zone, but also a hub connecting the town with the waterfront.
    The concept is derived from the understanding of the curvilinear structure, which is connected by different layers and platforms. The idea is not a guesswork, but is based on a large amount of geometric data and adjusted to make its structural logic more reasonable. The promenade concept has a similar starting point to that of the Barcelona botanical garden, but each has its own characteristics.
    The concept is derived from the understanding of the curvilinear structure, which is connected by different layers and platforms. The idea is not a guesswork, but is based on a large amount of geometric data and adjusted to make its structural logic more reasonable. The promenade concept has a similar starting point to that of the Barcelona botanical garden, but each has its own characteristics. This is a vibrant place that USES organic lines to remind people of natural waves and USES honeycomb surfaces to effectively use light and shadow. The zigzag structure provides a series of platforms for entertainment, meetings, relaxation or meditation.

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Planning and Landscape
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