30 Year Vision — St Albans

Client
St Albans City and District Council

Collaborators
Urban Practitioners / the Landscape Partnership / Alan Baxter Associates / CB Richard Ellis / Rocket Science/ Future Unwrapped / Ipsos Mori

5th Studio worked with Urban Practitioners on a year-long project to develop a 30 year Vision for St Albans – one of Britain’s most prosperous cities, and a designated growth area forecasted to accommodate 7,200 new homes by 2021.

The project provides an overarching vision for its future – from a regional scale through to the very particular environmental, economic and social conditions of the town itself. With broad stakeholder and community engagement, our work has been enthusiastically endorsed within the city and is now beginning to influence planning policy in the district.

A masterplan and public realm strategy for the city centre – in particular the margins of the central area, currently dominated by poor quality service areas, car parking and highway – forms a more detailed focus for the project. A key challenge is how to capture commercial interest and value now, whilst also aiming to ensure the broader vitality and sustainability of the city over a 30 year timeframe.

The success of this project has relied upon working with, and synthesising, a wide range of stakeholder inputs, including land-owners and businesses. Within this, we sought to establish a clear vision for the future of the city – an act, to some extent, of market positioning and ‘branding’ – and to highlight the possible role of the built environment in defining this.

Study model examining the potential for repair, infill and intensification of the fragmented post-war urban grain east of St. Peter’s Street

Illustrations of the close-grained fabric and high quality public realm proposed by the masterplan – looking from a new square on Victoria Street towards a site identified for larger scale ‘big box’ development embedded within the urban block

Illustration of the proposed intimate alleyways leading off St Peter’s Street, completing a retail circuit and activating the existing back-land plots.

Illustration of the proposed new civic square fronted by a refurbished Alban Arena and a new Winter Garden

Illustrative masterplan for the development of the city centre over a 30 year time-frame

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