The landscape at Maritime Streets has changed perceptions – kick-starting the renewal of one of the country’s most deprived areas.
|Type||Regeneration, Community Engagement, Health & Wellbeing|
|Scale||1.1 ha (11,000 sqm)
Landscape surrounding 492 existing homes
|Client||Barrow Borough Council|
|Awards||Winner, ‘Adding Value Through Landscape’ - Landscape Institute Awards 2018
Best Commercial Landscape Design - Northern Design Awards 2017
LISA HART PEARCE
The new landscape has transformed Maritime Streets, not only visually but holistically. People now have a happy, modern, green space to enjoy; full of colour and beauty. There is no doubt in my mind that the wellbeing of the local community has been positively encouraged by the regeneration of the area and I hope it will continue through generations.
BARROW BOROUGH COUNCIL
Landscape may not seem like the obvious solution to a housing supply issue but this revitalisation of the landscape has transformed this into safe, attractive place where people once again want to live and work.
A Change in Perception
Barrow has a rich industrial heritage but a decline in traditional industry has resulted in hardship. This was starkly reflected in Maritime Streets’ degraded and desolate landscape, where many of the flats were lying empty.
Barrow Island’s enduring industry, adjacent town centre, waterfront location and heritage buildings, presented all the elements needed for a successful place. The ambition was to transform the landscape and the perception of the neighbourhood, encouraging people to live here once again.
The landscape promotes good mental and physical health, allowing all residents to connect with their community and with nature.
Social isolation has been addressed through design. The landscape is legible, safe and accessible allowing people of all ages to enjoy the communal space.
Flat occupancy has vastly increased, bringing concomitant benefits to the local economy.
Meaningful improvement has resulted in vacant flats being reoccupied. The less environmentally sound solution would have been to build new homes on greenfield sites, further away from the town centre. People can once again live in walking distance of work and amenity, reducing car dependency.
Abundant planting, new trees and wildflower meadows welcome nature into the neighbourhood.
A Bold Identity
The conspicuous design of the central square is purposeful: a bold first impression jolts people awake to the potential of this place.
Improvements were needed across the whole neighbourhood, but resources were deliberately targeted at the most visible and used spaces. A resourcing study was done to identify which changes would make the biggest impact.
No Compromise on Quality
We insisted on high quality furniture, materials, craftsmanship and planting; replacing the atmosphere of deprivation with one of desirability. A rigorous approach to quality has delivered the physical context and atmosphere of confidence this community needs for its renewal.
Design for Social Cohesion
Pathways that traverse the central square connect residential blocks both visually and physically. The intersection of paths define pockets of space for socialising, play or simply enjoying nature.
A community gardening group enables social cohesion and empowers people with new skills.
Site walkabout with members of the community.
Giving Residents a Voice
With high levels of deprivation in Barrow, many of the groups we engaged with were hard to reach.
Farrer Huxley and mental health charity Growing Well became a voice for the community. During consultation we promoted the importance of resident engagement, in order to generate a sense of pride and ownership that would also safeguard the condition of the landscape.