Millennium Square, Leeds
Civic Space, Public Arts and Social Facilitation
This paper by Doug Sandle, Leeds Metropolitan University, examines the relationship between social action and physical space. Taking the development of Millennium Square in Leeds as a case study, the paper discusses the refurbishment and animation of the square in front of the Leeds Civic Hall.
The square is in the city centre which is separated from domestic housing and would virtually close down after at 6pm. A successful National Lottery bid enabled the area to be redesigned and physically refurbished. An equally important part of the project was a strategy for providing and encouraging events and activities that would give experiences to users and thus meaning to the square. The project included:-
- an arts project during the physical development in the square
- permanent public art commissions
- provision of equipment / infrastructure for performance events
- the requirements of performance events in the overall design brief
- management and a policy framework to support use of the space
The paper is an initial review of the success of this strategy in encouraging wide use of the square, both formal and spontaneous.
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