Group 15

Bradford city has many ongoing and proposed regeneration plans and is aiming to bid the title of ‘UK’s City of Culture 2025’. The new ‘City Village’ is a key proposal located in the heart of the city centre which seeks to re-purpose the area by incorporating residential housing within the urban context. Our aim is to develop alternative, contemporary solutions to meet the council’s goals, provoking thought and sparking conversations by showcasing our ideas to key stakeholders and residents of Bradford.

Bismah Z / Sung Jie K / Areeje S / Megha P


Welcome to the Re:Think Bradford Event’s first post!
We are all in the Atelier: Landscape and Urbanism (LULU), and we will be coordinating this event which also emphasises on urban analysis/design and masterplanning.
Before getting started, allow us to introduce ourselves, shall we?

Areeje Sherllalah
Undergraduate Degree: Manchester School of Architecture / Part 1: Loop Systems Ltd
Areeje’s interest in the influence of built form on the wider scale of the urban environment & master planning stems from her experiences in vastly different countries. She appreciates the importance of historical research and the consideration of the local community, whilst aiming for a lasting positive impact through design. She has had experience working in architecture, contracting and interior design. She is proficient in using CAD and Vectorworks, as well as Adobe Creative Suite softwares, Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Bismah Zafar
Undergraduate Degree: Manchester School of Architecture / Part 1: IBI Group (UK)
Bismah is a local resident who lives just on the outskirts of Greater Manchester and having seen Manchester city evolve and grow, she is interested in how cities and the surrounding built environment create a happy place and promote positive health and wellbeing for every resident. She is currently a BA1 Teaching Assistant and is working part time with IBI Group. She has familiarity with Revit, CAD and loves to use Illustrator for diagrams.

Megha Paudyal
Undergraduate Degree: University of Kent / Part 1: LSI Architects
Megha has 2 years of experience working as a Part 1 Architectural Assistant, where she was exposed to projects of varying sizes, stages and from a range of sectors, but worked predominantly in the educations field. She also worked in Nepal for 2 months at a small research and design company which worked with bamboo and rammed earth as building techniques. She is proficient in ArchiCAD, InDesign and Photoshop and loves to sketch.

Koh Sung Jie
Undergraduate Degree: Taylor’s University / Part 1: DTLM Design Group .
SJ has completed his Part 1 studies and practice in Malaysia. During his practice, he had the privilege to work on many large-scale developments, residential and commercial, even handling one of the smaller projects under supervision of one of the directors. He enjoys immersing in research towards understanding how cities work and also has great familiarity in CAD, 3D modelling and diagramming.

As you can see, though we are from the same atelier, we have very different interests and skill sets to bring to the table for the upcoming event.

Stay tuned to what we have later!
Posted 10 Mar 2020 20:51
THE COLLABORATOR : Bradford Civic Society : Kieran Thompson

The Society is a registered charity and exists in order to preserve the city’s heritage and built environment, while encouraging better design and architecture, and connecting people with Bradford’s planners and politicians. The Society is open to any member of the public and currently has 100 + members.

The team will be working specifically with Kieran Thompson who first joined Bradford Civic Society in 2018, whilst writing his dissertation at Manchester School of Architecture (Kieran is also a recent Master of Architecture graduate). His research questioned whether successful regeneration in Bradford would be led from a Bottom Up or Top Down approach. His main reason for joining the civic society was to connect with key stakeholders in the city quickly to gain a large amount of primary research.

Kieran is still an active member of the civic society, going onto be part of the newly formed 'Place Panel' in the city.

Some words from Kieran himself…
“I challenge you to look up next time you visit Bradford. It is a city with listed heritage buildings, ‘To Let’ signs, redundant 1960’s brutalism and vacant development plots. Call me crazy but this mixed palate and unique canvas rather excites me!”

We are really looking forward to work with our collaborator and the wider members of the society.

Follow the Society on Twitter or visit their website for more information.

Posted 20 Mar 2020 15:42
We were invited by our collaborator to attend a meeting held in The Assembly, Bradford.

Among the people who attended were members of the Civic Society, Bradford City Council, local Geographers and Architects, Planners and local Residents. Members from the Bradford City Council Planning Transportation and highways service gave a presentation which communicated the city's goals, funding, proposed projects and aspirations for the future.

Upon some of the main points of discussion in the meeting included Forster Square Station & Square Development, and the City Center Transport plan & its relation to the wider highways strategy. We got a good idea of the current Bradford scene, a good insight on the city as a whole will contribute towards our development of the "City Village".

The meeting was a great opportunity for us to meet key people involved, our conversations at the meeting allowed us to gain a good idea of what Manchester School of Architecture students can provide. There was an energy of excitement towards the potential of student ideas being portrayed.

We left this meeting with ideas flowing, keen to develop a strategy for our outputs in the coming weeks.
Posted 21 Mar 2020 17:27
Our collaborator is keen to host an event in the form of an exhibition, in which we can showcase the work we have collated over the period of the events weeks.

Bradford Civic Society are "interested in gathering people's positive thoughts on what their vision for the future of Bradford City Center is".

This event will be hosted on Thursday 7th of May, 2020
18:00- 21:00

This provides an opportunity for our ideas to be seen by local residents, members of the council and other stakeholders. This project is a real potential to make an impact on Bradford City Center, so we intend to make full use of the exhibition.

The venue for the exhibition is the Assembly, the same venue in which the meeting was held. We plan to dedicate some hours of our trip to Bradford during events week to working in the Assembly, in order to familiarize the students with the space that we will be designing an exhibition for.

As well as creating the work for the exhibition, we plan to include students in the process of designing the exhibition space, which includes the layout, materials needed, strategy for transport of work and materials, as well as potentially creating a video/animation that will be played in the exhibition space.

Posted 21 Mar 2020 17:56
Hello, how’s it going fellow viewers?
This is a 4-part summarised information packet that goes into further detail about Bradford city centre that was extracted from the Bradford Council Expression of Interest for Future High Streets Fund. The first part would be an introduction to Bradford and its overall characteristics:


Bradford is a great northern city with a rich history built on industriousness, entrepreneurism and global connections. It currently has half a million population and boasts the youngest population in the country. Moreover, the city centre enjoys substantial Victorian architectural heritage with over 100 listed buildings.
Bradford and Leeds are closely linked cities within the Leeds City Region, having the highest level of commuting between any two cities in the UK with 44,000 workers travelling daily between them, 75% by car.

With more than 150 languages spoken, the abundance of international connections brings people together, leading to creativity and innovation.
Bradford is the youngest city in the UK with 141,600 people under the age of 18 in the district (26.5% of the total population). It has the potential for a powerful culture of entrepreneurship with 32,500 self-employed people and a large student population but also has high levels of economic inactivity and an unemployment rate of 5.4% compared to the national average (4.2%).

The city centre is an important shop window to the district with a strong cultural offer – Bradford is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film and is home to the National Science and Media Museum. Annual visitor estimates include 25m shoppers, 4m visitors to City Park, around 500,000 visitors to the Science and Media Museum including the Bradford City of Film and over 250,000 theatre goers.
Posted 21 Mar 2020 22:47
Next, we shall explore the challenges and opportunities present in Bradford city centre. There are 10 in total, therefore the next upcoming blog will cover the second half.


The most recent Centre for Cities Report lists Bradford as the city with the third highest level of high street retail vacancies in England and Wales. The report shows that 24% of Bradford’s retail premises were vacant in 2017-18 compared to an England and Wales average of 16%. There is also an increasing number of unused upper floors, underused surface car parks, and vacant sites. Key losses of many big brands, such as Marks and Spencer, Burton Group, WH Smiths, Argos, etc.

The city centre needs to become a recognised business investment choice and showcase for Bradford. Resources are required to demolish redundant low quality buildings, bring back into use empty buildings and sites to ensure a vibrant and functional area and facilitate repurposing for alternative uses. Adaptable and flexible accommodation will be a requirement for micro-businesses, such as artist studios, independent retail, co-working spaces, makers-spaces, and micro-manufacturing. Collaboratively, they will work together and complement products and services which allows more appealing opening hours, driving the evening economy.

The cultural diversity in Bradford has the potential for a wide range of food on offer. Added to this is a strong tradition of festivals and events, many of which celebrate the distinct cultural blend within the district. These include the renowned Bradford Literature Festival and the annual Bradford Festival. Bradford also has a strong Asian influence, with leading Asian fashion stores and restaurants which have yet to significantly permeate the city centre.

The city centre suffers safety fears during the night, caused by the presence of homeless and beggars, street drinking and groups of youths congregating. There is a need to promote a safe, welcoming and vibrant night-time economy. This can be done by repurposing vacant properties to create food and beverage and leisure venues which links both universities and their students to the city centre.

A Retail Survey done in 2017 shows that the city centre does not capitalise on the workforce present in the centre for shopping, food/drink and leisure. There is a lack of linked ‘multiple’ usage patterns, shoppers shop and workers work. Shoppers yearn for greater choice and variety for night-time and greater crossover between daytime and early evening offering.
Posted 21 Mar 2020 23:10

Based on monitoring of footfall on Darley Street, the key street in the former retail core, a reduction is shown on its quarterly footfall of 1.48 million in 2012 to 1.04 million in 2018. The lack of footfall creates deterioration of the environment, increasing concerns around safety and the occurrence of crime. The cause of it is a combination of consumers’ changing shopping habits, competition with online retail and out-of-town shopping centres.

Whilst the UK trend towards greater urban living and urban lifestyles have been less pronounced in Bradford than in many other cities over the past decade and a half. Compared to other major cities, Bradford city centre has witnessed a slow but steady growth in its residential population. The City Centre Area Action Plan aims to deliver a minimum of 3500 new homes by 2030, 1000 of these proposed within City Village Boundary. In this plan, there are specific needs to ensure housing choice in tenure and size to meet more local needs. There is also a requirement to support a sustainable city living through close proximity to new schools and healthcare.

The topography of Bradford is rather drastic, with steep inclines around the City Village area, accessibility needs to be maximised to create a more walkable city. Policies evaluated to reduce car use, congestion and air pollution via clean air zones, traffic management, smoke control, active travel interventions, and travel planning to increase public transport usage. The City Village will present an opportunity to create public living green areas and community gardens that create safe, accessible and inclusive spaces, enabling pop up markets, street festivals and cultural events (Healthy Streets)

Bradford is one of the most congested cities in the UK with Leeds-Bradford placed eighteenth on the list of the 25 most congested UK towns and cities. An integrated response should be developed that considers cars, public transport, cyclists and pedestrians. The city centre therefore acts as a transport ‘hub’ where the cars, public transport, walking and cycling all work together so that the city centre is connected both to Bradford residents and the wider world.

To prepare for future transport needs, Bradford’s planned infrastructure provision is necessary for increasing numbers of electric vehicles and the demand for rapid charging points. In the medium to long term, car-sharing schemes, predicted reduced car-ownership and eventually autonomous vehicles may reduce demand for car parking and multi-stories in the city centre. Data will be used to better inform and enhance city centre managements and forge new and stronger links between local people, businesses and the city centre. Information sharing will also integrate wayfinding information with local information on events, cultural and destinations and retail offers to extend dwell time and support local businesses and grow the economy.
Posted 21 Mar 2020 23:55
The following will be the final part of this 4-part informational series!


The ambition is a city centre that is transformed to enable new and sustainable styles of living that are attractive to all our communities, provides economic opportunity for all and is the cultural heart of the district. A place-based approach will be taken, drawing on local strengths and assets and putting people at the heart of this transformation.

The Future High Streets Fund will be used to catalyse the transformation of the city centre and revitalise Bradford, improving perceptions, increasing investor confidence and rekindling local pride. Bradford will harness the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of the young population and diverse communities to dive and innovate the city’s productive business community.

Bradford City Plan addresses a social and placemaking agenda with proposed actions organized around five priority outcomes:
• A Place of Dynamic Business and Entrepreneurship
• A Centre of Excellence for Learning
• An Exemplar of 21st Century Urban Living
• A Major Transport Hub
• A Destination & Experience

The Council has worked actively with Historic England to introduce the UK’s first Local Listed Building Consents Order which alongside a Local Development Order allows conversion and change of use of listed buildings without the need for planning consent.

A programme of Heritage Streets public realm investment has transformed much of the city centre pedestrian area. One of the most significant investments has been the delivery of the multi-award winning £25 million Bradford City Park.

The city centre is identified as a Spatial Priority Area for investment in the Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan 2016-2030 and is designated as an Urban Growth Centre reflecting its importance as a hub of economic activity and a centre of residential, leisure and cultural significance.

Regional Growth Fund monies received in 2012, matched by Bradford Council, has supported the wider City Centre through improvements to the streetscape and visitor navigation as well as creating a development platform for new build office accommodation in City Park.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Strategy 2040 identifies the city centre as a focus for housing and job growth in Bradford District alongside the Bradford Shipley Canal Road Corridor.

The Bradford Civic Society has secured letters of support from many stakeholders across the city, district and beyond, including support from the Leeds City Region. There are multiple letters of support from the private sector including key city centre partners and investors; wider business interests are also represented.

Working with Born in Bradford, one of the largest research studies in the world looking at childhood health, to jointly involve schoolchildren using smart technology to get their views on what they want from their future place.

It was announced at MIPIM and the LGA that Bradford is to be one of only five beneficiaries of the Future Places Initiative.

Involvement with the ‘Design in the Public Sector’ initiative and are presently working collaboratively with Homes England, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and other key partners on preparing the City Village ‘master delivery plan’

In the end, these details will better inform us on our approach towards our project coming soon. Until next time!
Posted 21 Mar 2020 23:57
Bradford City has a strong vision to transform the city centre by creating new and diverse opportunities for all. The City has many proposed and ongoing projects. One of which we will be informing you about...


This is one of Bradford's first redevelopment project where a main iconic landmark building is being transformed into a world class entertainment facility with a capacity of over 4000 people.

Let’s start with the history of this building…

The building what is currently known as the former Odeon first opened in 1930 as the New Victoria. The renaissance revival building complimented the adjacent Alhambra theatre and featured a large multi-functional auditorium, a ballroom and a restaurant. In 1950 The theatre was renamed the Gaumont and hosted The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many more world-renowned artists in the music venue. After closing as a music venue in 1968, the building reopened as the Odeon Twins, featuring two cinema screens and a bingo hall with a third cinema screen opening in the late 1980s. In the year 2000 the building closed to the public and remained unused for a few years. From the year 2004 to 2012 many redevelopment proposals had been expressed and scrapped that included the building to accommodate offices and a hotel.

At the end of 2014, following a rigorous competition, the Council awarded Bradford Live the right to re-develop the building. In September 2017 they announced the internationally renowned NEC Group as the operating partner. The plan is to re-instate the original huge auditorium, creating the biggest ‘mid-size’ venue in the country outside London and will attract national and international performers and with flexibility to host other events.

Bradford Live’s vision aims to support the city’s rebirth and believes that the former Odeon is key to that end as well as becoming a new cultural hub for the region, bringing the beat back to Bradford.
Posted 22 Mar 2020 10:59
A meeting with Daniel Boulger

We were given the opportunity very early on in preparation for the Re:Think Bradford Project to meet with Daniel Boulger who is a lead project manager for venue partnerships from NEC Group and is currently working on the Bradford Live Project.

Dan has been working on the Bradford Live project since 2014 and as a non ‘Bradfordian’ he was able to share his views and thoughts of Bradford City, the potential the city has and what he would hope to see as the City undergoes a huge redevelopment. During this meeting, Dan was able to give us some key facts about the city which he has learnt by spending a vast majority of his time working on the Bradford Live Project.

Some key facts mentioned by Dan:
- The city is actually quite large and widely spread
- It is the 6th largest metropiltan district in England
- People that live in the City Centre are actually quite poor

Dan was also able to share some aspects of the city that could be improved and incorporated into the ‘City Village’ proposals. This included;
- An aspect which could attract the students who studied at Bradford University and the college to stay within the city
- An improvement to the marketing side that can encourage people, sponsors and businesses to come together which would improve the economy.
- Introduce green spaces, a ‘night life’ for the younger generations.
- An element of sustainable living and circular economy.

The information that Dan was able to share was really useful and gave us an insight into the city of Bradford. From this meeting we were able to take key things forward which we can share with the rest of our Events team when working on the proposals for the ‘City Village' in the upcoming months.

We would like to thank Daniel for taking some time out to share his views, experience and thoughts of the City and our collaborator for organising this meeting!
Posted 22 Mar 2020 15:22
REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT 2 : Bradford Stations Masterplan

A second redevelopment project which has been proposed is the masterplan for the 2 train station in Bradford which aims to create high quality station gateways for the city centre enhancing the cities connectivity and the visitor experience.

At present, Bradford City has 2 train stations; Bradford Interchange which is the main train station connecting Bradford to the wider cities located south and the second train station is Forster Square which has a few local lines connecting Bradford to towns such as Skipton and Ikley. Although the train stations are within close proximity of each other (roughly a 10 minute walk) they are just seen as ‘dead ends’ with no direct connection, making it rather difficult for commuters, residents and visitors of Bradford. Automatically, this is seen as the primary divider of the City Centre that has a huge impact on the disperse community.

The proposed masterplan for both stations which will be delivered as 2 separate projects in the upcoming years. The overall vision for both train stations will include;
- Improving the visibility and connectivity of the stations within the wider city centre.
- Provide better connectivity between the stations using different transport modes (train, bus, tram etc…)
- Strategic approach to delivery of wayfinding
- Identify opportunities for new development within the adjoining the stations (including commercial and community provision)

In addition to this, Bradford City Council are pushing for the Northern Powerhouse Rail (HS3) – a fast line between Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool which could be a significant opportunity for the city creating a large amount of job opportunities and attracting visitors.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 12:41

We have been working collectively over the past few months to organise everything we need in order to produce the ‘City Village’ proposals during our 2 week Events period. We will be starting off with a walking tour of the Bradford City and initial site impressions which our Collaborator is really keen to hear about! Later on in the week will begin to develop ideas for the City Village site as well as researching alternative ways of living.

We have also invited our collaborator to come and take a look at our initial thoughts and work in process!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 22:18

During the second week, we will begin to rationalise our proposals further and begin to curate our exhibition boards. We will be organising the groups depending on their interest (whether that is co-living, eco-living, circular economy and much more). Towards the end of the week we will be focusing the final exhibition layout, printing out the work and transporting it to the venue, ready for the night of the exhibition.

Throughout the Events period we aim to learn lots of new skills and build upon our existing key skills as well as being able to use this event to explore what you may be interested in.

If you’re unsure, don’t worry there is something for everyone!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 22:29
Social Impact

This is an important driver in the Bradford City Village project. A re imagined way to successfully combine the city and residential areas through design can ultimately affect the way people live. Bradford City Council stressed in previous meetings that the most important issue to tackle in Bradford, is that of young people moving away to find jobs, as they are not catered to in the existing residential schemes. This demographic seeks a fun and vibrant city life to be combined with their residential home, developing "Alternative Living" design ideas could pave the way for this to happen. This change in demographic will ultimately benefit the economy and enhance social life for the majority living in Bradford.

The process undertaken during the events project, from initially meeting the collaborator to the end output, could potentially result in a lasting impact. As students, we are keen to explore the different options that could contribute to this scheme in Bradford City Center, and aim to use design activities in order to develop and refine ideas for the "City Village" scheme.

Initial conversations with the collaborator and key stakeholders gave us a good idea of what they are keen to see in our proposals. We will work around these notes and the given information including the Council's goals, in order to create refined design ideas.

Our schemes will be communicated through different mediums and our collected work over the events period will be exhibited at an exhibition in Bradford Assembly, organised by our collaborator. We appreciate that this is a fantastic opportunity to really show our work effectively, aiming to spark conversations and to influence the future design decisions made in Bradford by key stakeholders. We have been asked to explore phase I, including initial designs to show the potential of Bradford City Center and we aim to achieve this through a final exhibition.

Hopefully our conveyed ideas will create a lasting impact in Bradford, one that values positive social impacts as well as other benefits, in terms of economy, diversity in demographics and ultimately, the perception of Bradford.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 23:41
Site Visit to Bradford

To familiarise ourselves with Bradford, our collaborator kindly volunteered to take us on a walk around the key areas of the city centre to understand the current state of the city better and record our first impressions. The information collected on this visit will be condensed and presented to the BA students as part of the information pack we aim to provide before the Events week begins. This walk will also form the basis of the site visit we plan to do on the first day of the Events week, which will be focused more specifically on the City Village site itself.
Posted 24 Mar 2020 09:23
City Village

As part of a larger regeneration plan for the city, Bradford Council is proposing 1000 family homes to be built in the city centre. Currently, the Oastler centre sits on the main site, which is to be demolished by spring 2022. This will allow for a new residential lead, mixed-use development which will aim to reinvigorate the area's economy and re-instate the declining footfall.

We will be providing an information pack to our team which will include further information on the city's demographic, building types, key circulation routes etc. We will also condense the Council's proposal document so that their aims and vision is clear whilst we design the proposal for the site.

If you would like to find out more about the proposal, here is an online article:

Our aim, as a team, is to analyse and challenge the council's proposal and develop an argument for or against the scheme. Then we will be proposing our own radical schemes for the site which will offer alternative solutions to the current UK development model.
Posted 24 Mar 2020 09:44
Alternative Models

As a team, we will be looking to propose alternative models to the UK's current development model for housing and regeneration. To do this, we will be researching into alternative approaches to living and working, whether that is through encouraging circular economy, more sustainable ways of living or through social initiatives used to re-invigorate high-streets and town centres.

One of the key speakers due to present at our exhibition is Neil Gibb, who is a 'Social Innovator' and is the minds behind the South Lanes initiative in Colchester, which used community lead strategies to re-generate the area.

For more information on the South Lanes project visit:
Posted 24 Mar 2020 10:05