What is it?
Leeds City Council's Asset Management & Regeneration service have embarked on an ambitious project, initially focused on the city centre, bringing together more than 40 plans, ideas and proposals for changes to city centre public spaces in one single strategy. The 'Our Spaces Strategy' will blend small interventions such as weekend street closures with the major redevelopment of spaces such as City Square and South Bank, placing a priority on people, the feel of the city and how these new spaces could be created, experienced and animated at different times of the day by different groups.
Our challenge is to ensure that our culture is instantly visible in our spaces and streets. The Culture Strategy recognised that our public spaces were not spaces in which we were invited to dwell, but instead had become thoroughfares that we rush through on our way to work, or spaces we pass on our way to meet family and friends rather than meeting points in themselves. While some of our spaces host events, when the events are gone these spaces can feel empty and barren. Our streets do not always feel safe, often catering more for cars and vehicle traffic than they do for people and families.
Through the Culture Strategy the city has set a bold new vision for our public spaces to become our greatest cultural asset. The new 'Our Spaces Strategy' will, for the first time, include a cultural response ensuring that our ambition for these spaces to become cultural assets remains a driving force in how they develop, taking in events, animation, public art and creative design to invite play, create green spaces improving health and wellbeing and inviting the people of the city reconnect with its urban centre.
We are blessed with energetic, creative and visionary artistic directors across our cultural organisations and festivals, we want to invite them to use the city's stages and canvases as well as their own, but in order to do this we must consider culture at the start of spaces being created and commissioned, making sure that power is available, lighting can be flexible and giving consideration to audience experience from the very beginning.
Which Leeds Culture Strategy Aims & Objectives will it deliver?
- Ensure that culture is celebrated, runs through our DNA and is inextricably linked to who are we and what we do.
- For the city to value and prioritise cultural activity, utilising it as a means of improving the quality of life experienced by every person and every community in Leeds.
- For culture to build respect, cohesion and coexistence between and within communities and individuals.
Which Leeds Culture Strategy Area of Focus does it serve?
- A Place of Many Destinations
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