The characteristics and impacts of external forces on places
Places do not exist in isolation; they grow and change as a result of both endogenous and exogenous forces. We have already seen through placemaking policies, rebranding, regeneration and reimaging that external agencies can have an impact on the nature and character of places. There are many external agencies such as;
Grainger Town Newcastle upon Tyne - A CHANGING PLACE IN THE UK
Grainger Town in Newcastle upon Tyne is a great example of a changing place, its regeneration was apart of a partnership project, and it has been completely transformed, regenerated and reimaged as a cultural and heritage quarter (more here - New urban landscapes). Grainger Town is centred around Grey Street and the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne.
These areas have been subject to a multi-million regeneration project that involved redeveloping the interiors of many buildings, cleaning the sandstone on Grey’s monument and the Theatre Royal and bringing empty shops back into use. Many of the buildings in Grainger Town are protected as Listed Buildings, and as such cannot be altered. Indeed, Grainger Town is a historic town in the heart of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 40% of the buildings in the area are listed as being of historical and architectural importance.1
The area has its own special character and many Newcastle residents would say it has a unique sense of place.
Place factors affecting Grainger Town
There are also Exogenous places factors – the main one centring around a regeneration scheme to redevelop the area when it fell into decline.
The Grainger Town area covers 90 acres between Central Station and Northumberland Street, encompassing Grainger’s new buildings, Medieval streets like the Bigg Market and Victorian buildings too. In addition, the 13th century Dominican Friary of Blackfriars and remnants of the old Town Wall gives Grainger Town a great richness of character. Commercial ground floor properties consisting of shops sit beneath offices and residential properties in terraces with some landmark buildings such as the Theatre Royal.
Grey’s monument is the centre point of Grainger Town, visible from all over the city centre, it is a gathering place for people of the city. It commemorates Earl Greys success at parliamentary reform in 1832.
Historical CHANGE as a place:
Grainger Town is a historic part of Newcastle City Centre which has had 3 major periods of Urban Change.
The initial phase replaced old mediaeval parts of the town with new street layouts and buildings from 1835 to 42; a major decline phase from the 1960s to 1990s and its current regenerated phase.
1835 to 42 – Richard Grainger developed a series of classical streets which are overlaid on the pattern of the medieval settlement that was there before. Grainger was lucky in that Newcastle was unusual as there was a large property – Anderson Place – with extensive grounds within the city walls. Grainger’s idea was to link the smart residential areas to the north with the cramped trading district above the quayside.
1960s to 1990s - parts of Grainger Town were demolished to make way for projects such as the Eldon Square and parts of the area were overtaken by others as centres for commerce and retail. By the 1990s the decline in the area was at its worst with;
1993 – English Heritage and Newcastle City council launched a programme of property development and environmental improvement which helped the most at risk buildings and began to stop the decline of the area.
1996 - Newcastle City Council, the English Heritage and English Partnerships decided that the area could no longer be left to take care of itself and prepared a bid for government funding for a regeneration strategy
1997 - Grainger Town Project established – a partnership with Newcastle City Council, English Partnership and English Heritage. £40 million of public sector investment was expected to be bolstered by a further £120 million from the private sector, but the latter reached £160 million.1
2003 – The project was finished to be overseen by the now defunct One NorthEast
Elements of the project:
The original vision of the Partnership was that - “Grainger Town will become a dynamic and competitive location in the heart of the City. Grainger Town will develop its role in the regional economy with a high-quality environment appropriate to a major European regional capital. Its reputation for excellence will be focused on leisure, culture and the arts, retailing, housing and entrepreneurial activities. Grainger Town will become a distinctive place, a safe and attractive location to work, live and visit.”1 Indeed, the whole of Grainger Town was reinvented as a multi-use environment with HERITAGE and CULTURE at its core. More on heritage and cultural quarters - New urban landscapes
There were many features of the project that had place factors;
Steel plaque on the floor of Grainger Street - it commemorates Newcastle's industrial past
The achievements of the regeneration of Grainger Town include:
Source of data - 1
This project has been followed by others, not least the Helix development opposite St James Park in the city.
1. Fiona Currie and David Lovie (2003) - Newcastle’s Grainger Town: An Urban Renaissance. Accessed 25th February 2020 at https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/newcastles-grainger-town/newcastles-grainger-town/
2. Ken Smith (2015), Celebration of the River Tyne's tributaries and hidden underground watercourses, The Journal, Accessed 14th May 2020 at http://www.thejournal.co.uk/north-east-analysis/analysis-news/celebration-river-tynes-tributaries-hidden-8809789