Bristol —the city in context
Bristol at the turn of the millenium
Bristol was Britain’s second city before the industrial revolution. The unofficial capital of the South West, the city is now booming again with almost full employment. Due to Bristol’s river crossings, constricted roads, loss of landmark buildings and vistas (due to post-war redevelopment) the city has become a difficult place to navigate.
The legacy is compounded by difficulties with public transport. Disagreements between Isembard Kingdom Brunel and the city fathers located the main line Temple Meads train station a full mile from the city centre. The bus station is hidden and has poor signposting and the road system is at breaking point. Three out of four residents see transport as the city’s major problem and there is a drive to turn drivers into passengers.
The image of the city
As with many of our cities, The public realm of Bristol was in need of improvement. Many items of street furniture were in poor condition, vandalised, obsolete or in need of replacement. Collectively, they gave a negative contribution to the overall quality of the environment, having a detrimental effect on people's initial and long term perceptions of the city.
Bristol City Council
The brief for the Bristol Legible City Initiative stems from a long-standing commitment from Bristol City Council, set out in their local plan, to improve the quality of the environment in the City Centre. The initiative is also a core component of the Council’s City Centre Strategy. Bristol City Council has responded to the city’s challenges, whilst recognising the need to clarify the city centre, and has placed an emphasis on improving information to communicate the city more effectively. This has been an opportunity to remove obsolete signs and information, therefore simplifying the public realm by only giving the correct information.
Bristol has become clogged with cars and pollution so a partnering aim throughout Bristol Legible City has been to provide excellent pedestrian information, delineate safe and easy routes through the city to key attractions and destinations and support the use of public transport wherever possible.
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