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Thread: Northern UK cities - views from over there?

  1. #1
         
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    Northern UK cities - views from over there?

    Alright geezers,

    I was just wondering if any of you had visited any cities in northern England, the old industrial heartlands such as Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and what your views were on efforts to regenerate those areas which have experienced huge industrial decline since the heydays of the 50s/60s? Have any of you lot ever done an exchange with planning departments in the UK? Anything you were impressed by?

    sorry, bit of an inquisitive post really, I aim to work professionally abroad at some point in my career, and I'm just interested in how our way of working over here is regarded abroad!

    Cheers, I owe you a pint.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    I did an exchange in 2000 that took me to the Nottingham and Darby areas. There is a fundamental difference in planning between here and over there. Your system is very much top-down while ours is a mesh of different systems.

    A big question that unfortunately I can't respond in full to today, I'll try later.

    I will say that the hospitality of the people of the Midlands is incredible and I long to return.

    ...and please don't get me thinking of the fantastic beer and cider this early in the morning!

  3. #3
    maudit anglais
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    I have family in northern England (Lancashire) so I get over to the UK every other year or so.

    I'm most familiar with Manchester. The changes that have occured there since my first visits as a child in the mid-1970s are amazing. They have done a fantastic job in revitalizing the canal area. I kind of miss the grit though.

    Liverpool seemed to really lag behind a bit, though I haven't been there in 12 years now. The docks were just starting to come around - fantastic potential.

    Sheffield - only a couple of visits, in the mid-1980s. Very depressing. I love that scene in the Full Monty where they show the "Sheffield: City of Progress" movie clip and then fade to the scenes of decline. Spot on, at least for that time period.

    York - fantastic, probably my favourite small city in the UK. Never seemed to decline to the same extent as other industrial cities, perhaps the tourism and university helped.

    Not in north England, but I used to love taking the train through Birmingham in the 1980s. It was like travelling through a world where Mad Max had come to life almost. Very post-apocolyptic. Not sure what it is like now.

    Would love to do some work in the UK eventually. My wife and I actually talked about moving there for a bit at one point. She fell in love with the place when we went a couple of years ago. I did a university exchange program at Oxford-Brookes University in the mid-1990s
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 28 Feb 2007 at 11:32 AM. Reason: additional thoughts

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Upstate New York = Northern UK.

    One example: in graduate school in the 1990s, the faculty was quite fond of comparing Buffalo and Sheffield; that they were, in a way, unofficial sister/twinned cities. Members of the University of Sheffield faculty of town planning often visited to compare notes with those in Buffalo, and share the Sheffield experience with UB students.

    The similarities between Buffalo and Sheffield are striking, right down to constructing a rapid transit system (Buffalo Metro Rail, Sheffield Supertram) to help revitalize the central business district. Buffalo is used as the setting for theatrical performances of The Full Monty, while Sheffield was used in the original movie. Sheffield is a city I always wanted to see for myself, just to see if the comparisons to Buffalo hold true.

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    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    A few summers ago, I went on a holiday to visit the northern part of England. Mind you, I was visiting these places as a tourist.

    Leeds - I was in the downtown area. It felt like a mini London. You have everything that you could possibly want from London crammed in the downtown area of Leeds. Very pleasing looking.

    Manchester - With the hearsay about how gritty the city is, I was surprised to see how "cleaned up" the downtown area was. The train station is just massive. I enjoyed visiting Urbis, a museum of urban living. The whole downtown area seems really smart, but different sections of the downtown area seemed a bit disjointed. The above-ground train didn't seem to help connect the areas either.

    The downtown area felt like people work there, but don't live there.

    Liverpool - it still feels like a city that hasn't been "cleaned up" in a Manchester way. A lot of historic charm is left and it feels authentic. The city doesn't apologize for its lower level of cleanliness like that of Manchester, but it's still perfectly suitable.

    The whole dock area is an intriguing area. I wonder if this area will ever be linked up with the downtown core. The downtown area felt like that people live and work there, however the dock area feels that only people work or visit there.

    The Mersey ferry in Liverpool is just splendid as the city offer great views from the Mersey River.

    York - I felt that this was a cramped town of just historic things preserved for the sake of history, but not for the sake of community living.

    Sheffield - I didn't get the chance to visit this town. So, no comments.

    Is this the kind of information you were hoping for?

  6. #6
         
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    Thanks for your replies!

    Some interesting comments in there, which I thought I might pick up on a bit.

    Manchester - With the hearsay about how gritty the city is, I was surprised to see how "cleaned up" the downtown area was. The train station is just massive. I enjoyed visiting Urbis, a museum of urban living. The whole downtown area seems really smart, but different sections of the downtown area seemed a bit disjointed. The above-ground train didn't seem to help connect the areas either.

    The downtown area felt like people work there, but don't live there.
    (HCeux)

    Interesting to note the last sentence. Manchester is seen as one of the forerunners of 'city centre living' in the UK, it was certainly the first city in the north to encourage it, and now more or less every city/town has some policy to encourage such development.

    With regard to the 'disjointedness', I'd have to agree. There are definitely quite distinct boundaries between area within the city, without much integration between them. I also find the city centre a complicated beast, I've been numerous times but still haven't fathomed out how to navigate around!

    York - fantastic, probably my favourite small city in the UK. Never seemed to decline to the same extent as other industrial cities, perhaps the tourism and university helped.
    (Tranplanner)

    You're bang on there regarding the tourism.

    The University in York was actually only founded in 1963 and the other cities mentioned all have two Universities. I wouldn't even consider putting York in the same category as the others for industrial history though. Recently much of the traditional industry in York (confectionary it would seem) has, or is about to, come to a close, with one large site coming up for redevelopment very close to the city centre.

    Sheffield is a city I always wanted to see for myself, just to see if the comparisons to Buffalo hold true.
    (Dan)

    Should you ever find yourself over here I would be only too happy to give you a guided tour of my old university town!

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