Coastal Cities – Urban Infrastructures
Free (open access)
Urban regeneration in Britain frequently focuses around buildings and sees the object as a potential catalyst for the making of public space. This project proposes that the starting point is public space and infrastructure, its character and connectivity determining new building proposals. The south east coast of the UK is characterised by a string of resorts that together create an urban strip approximately 160km long. However, the 19th and early 20th century recreational expansion that created it, while informing the strip’s urban morphology, can no longer singularly sustain it. In the absence of any clear successor, the connection between town, hinterland and sea has eroded. As individual seaside towns, the trappings of fading popularity obscure the very qualities that were once so attractive. As an often unrecognized ‘Strip-City’ the coastal strip is hindered by poor infrastructure, especially that for transport, promoting pockets of extreme isolation. Current regeneration is in danger of ignoring existing spatial characteristics that, historically, have been shaped by the combination of the closeness between town and sea and the ambition of 19th century engineering. Whilst developments are considered for ‘key sites’, the critical issue of spatial and infrastructural linkages – squares, parks and routes – that re-unite and re-define the urban shoreline is ignored. This paper discusses the work of masters-level architecture students, which investigates ideas for the regeneration of coastal settlements and the creation of new programmatic territories that link infrastructure and architecture, interaction and space, city and water. Keywords: architecture, urban design, coastal development, urban regeneration, urban infrastructural spaces, urban programmes.
architecture, urban design, coastal development, urban regeneration, urban infrastructural spaces, urban programmes.