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St. James’s Gate

The Challenge

The journey from Cornmarket to St James’s Gate works its way through one of the most significant historic industrial landscapes in the City. Focused on getting to the Guinness Storehouse however, the wealth of what is on offer within the surrounding streets and locations is somewhat lost on the visitor. The route has to work hard to reveal the extent, depth and appeal of its true significance. The fortress character of the street with the impenetrable boundaries of the Guinness site needs to be reviewed to create a softened and appealing streetscape. Beyond Guinnesses the historic streetscape remerges, but struggles with being poorly valued and poorly maintained.

The context for intervention is very much set by the emerging plans of two key stakeholders located along this stretch of the route – the Digital Hub and Diageo. Between them, these ‘anchor players’ have the potential to reach out to the route and support an active public realm, a necessity not just in social and economic terms, but also in terms of contributing significantly to the animation of the visitor journey, providing passive surveillance and finding ways to introduce a ‘human scale’ to the nature of the experience. It is important not to regard these highly specific and understandably corporate-focused organisations as autonomous, but through the catalyst of the ‘cultural alignment’ to explore how they can each contribute to a ‘common’ programme for the public realm and for social engagement

‘…iHubs are tools of urban policy oriented towards developing creative places within cities, such as in their historical centres or in old industrial or logistical areas. The main idea behind this concept is that we can use science, technology and engineering as well as design, arts, culture and media as driving forces of urban regeneration and redevelopment… the cities of the future will be a creative conjunction of technology, arts and community…we are talking about ‘cities within cities’ as breeding places in an experimental phase … these are ‘fusion places’ where different uses coexist, such as business or entrepreneurial, research and development, education and learning, shopping and entertainment or community functions.I

  1. Vilhena da Cunha, I and Selada, C. (2009) Creative urban regeneration: the case of innovation hubs International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development Vol. 1 No. 4, 371-386

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