Expert Comment: Waterfront regeneration tops popular prioritiesTuesday 13 November 2012
Dr Janet Speake, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Liverpool Hope, looks at plans to revitalise Liverpool's iconic waterfront.
Last week’s Liverpool Post survey of public responses to the city’s Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) revealed substantially positive reactions, with the regeneration of the waterfront being identified as its most important element, followed by the improvement of 'Great Streets' (The Strand, Hope Street, and the Lime Street- Dale Street- Water Street corridor).
That the revitalisation of the waterfront/docks came top demonstrates the waterfront’s continuing capacity to draw the attention of the people of Liverpool and potential investors. To progress development of the waterfront is to enhance the city’s ability to compete for home and international investment, and extend its competitive reach. Many of the world’s great, most recognised cities have great, well recognised waterfronts too. Successful, attractive waterfronts have a strong economic draw. Some, like Liverpool’s are also evocative and iconic.
Liverpool has the capacity to maximise its unique historic and contemporary waterfront assets and the SIF outlines ways that this might happen through both investment in business (such as the Exhibition Centre Liverpool) and social capital. People feature as well as profit. The waterfront is identified as a ‘distinctive neighbourhood’ and a place where people go home to.
Over many years there has been a sense of distance between the much of waterfront and its adjacent neighbourhoods. Through major, green landscape statements and the reduction of the barrier effect on pedestrians of The Strand’s busy traffic lanes, greater connection between neighbourhoods is anticipated.