Creating Both Social Space and Movement Space in Mayfair and Belgravia

Creating Both Social Space and Movement Space in Mayfair and Belgravia


S Adams, D Hampton, MVA Consultancy, UK


Development of a 20-year public realm strategy to resolve street-user conflicts in exchange space in London?s West End. Paper focuses on 3 case studies including a matrix-based assessment of streets? place and link functions.


The City of Westminster has a unique and historic townscape of great complexity and character. In the latter half of the twentieth century areas of the city, such as Mayfair and Belgravia which have retained much of their architectural character, have become dominated by the needs of the motor vehicle. This domination of streets by vehicles has led to reduced pedestrian and cyclist provision and safety, and has also impacted upon the visual amenity of streets. Most importantly streets have been increasingly regarded as movement conduits, forgetting their crucial social function as places where people live, work, and socialise.

To help re-assert the social function of streets and places, MVA was commissioned by landowner Grosvenor to provide transport and movement inputs for a multi-million pound 20-year public realm improvement programme. The work undertaken by MVA built on the key themes contained in the ?Manual for Streets? publication and the recently published ?Link & Place: A Guide to Street Planning and Design? Report.

A matrix-based analysis of streets? link and place status was undertaken that clearly identified particular streets where significant ?conflict? between its movement and social functions occurred. The full analysis methodology will be outlined using a range of examples with particular focus on its benefits over a purely vehicle-based approach that has been traditionally used.

The ?conflict? areas that were identified were then resolved through a co-ordinated range of public realm improvements including: removal of signal control at junctions, footway widening, rationalisation of parking, and also extensive street de-cluttering. Examples of the proposed plans will be discussed including a range of ?before? and ?after? visualisations. These examples will show how the link-place analysis can highlight areas of ?conflict? and how best practice taken from ?Manual for Streets? can help address these areas.

Additionally, MVA prepared an Access and Movement framework which was a central component to a 'Public Realm Handbook' developed for the Ultimate Client. This handbook was a key policy document for how to control development and bring about public realm improvements throughout the Estate in future years. It was complimentary to the relevant policy documents produced by Westminster City Council.

[Although the paper is authored by MVA staff, it is very likely that the Ultimate Client (Grosvenor) will be able to provide significant input to the paper, possibly co-presenting.]


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