Re-inventing, re-invigorating, re-imagining – it’s how you take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. It’s how you transform lifeless, underused urban spaces into must-visit destinations. And, in the world of placemaking, it’s how we create vibrant places that people want to live, work and play in.
All over the world, the potential of redundant urban space is being tapped into; to make our cities better places to be. A lot of this centres around sustainability and the creation of health-enhancing green space. New York’s High Line, a former elevated railway-line that has been turned into a park with fantastic views of the city is the perfect example, but other exciting space-optimising innovations include vertical forests, on the side of high-rise buildings, urban farms on restaurant and apartment block rooftops and ‘pocket parks’ on vacant building lots.
We started our own journey in this space by transforming some of the amazing rooftops on our buildings to create stunning gardens for our customers to work, collaborate with colleagues and relax on. These include Blackfriars House and Neo in Manchester, Lancastrian in Trafford and most recently Platform in Leeds.
Savvy space invaders are having a big impact. And it goes far beyond simply boosting urban green credentials. Under-utilised space is being harnessed to bring a plethora of benefits and new experiences to city dwellers. At Bruntwood, we’re using previously overlooked spaces to help gel communities together, provide attractive new amenity and drive economic prosperity.
Sounds like a tall order? Well, Hatch, our food, drink and retail destination on Oxford Road next to Circle Square is already delivering on all of these fronts. An ever-changing, shipping container pop-up scheme, Hatch has breathed new life into what was an underused space under the Mancunian Way flyover at the top of Oxford Road.
Inspired reinvention has transformed this area into a place where the curious residents, workers and students can come together to socialise, eat, drink, shop, catch a gig and just hang out. Day and night, it offers instagrammable new experiences and a rolling programme of events and entertainment, all centered on building a community on Oxford Road.
It’s time to look at our city spaces with fresh eyes and pure imagination - to make them work harder than ever, do far more than they were originally designed to do and offer bigger benefits for everyone who uses them.