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World Leading Architects appointed to work with the people of Newcastle to re-imagine a future for the Quayside


NE1 has appointed Gehl Architects, the world’s leading architectural experts in ‘place-making’ to help shape a vision for Newcastle’s Quayside and to gather public and stakeholder opinion, ideas, and comments on the future for this iconic part of the city.

Gehl will be working with NE1, businesses, residents, and key stakeholders to develop key themes and principles for the area, identifying opportunities that could transform how people interact and engage with the Quayside over the years to come.

Gehl’s work has helped deliver similar visionary transformations in Copenhagen and in Melbourne and in other global cities like New York where their work with NYCs Department of Transport (DOT) paved the way for pedestrianising Times’ Square. They are now working with NE1 and the people of Newcastle to deliver an ambitious set of principles for how the Quayside might be improved for future generations.

The starting point for this exciting project is a major fact-finding exercise and public consultation programme that launched this week, with a Maptionnaire, an online questionnaire which it is hoped will garner a wide range of views, ideas, and wish-lists from the public and major stakeholders on the future development of the Quayside.

This online survey will be active for the next two weeks and NE1 hopes that as many people as possible will visit the page to give their views and have their say. Following the Maptionnaire, Gehl will run a series of workshops in Newcastle in February with residents, businesses, and other major stakeholders to explore the themes and ideas that are identified in the online survey. They will report on their findings in early spring, identifying the key principles and themes on how the area can evolve in the future.

Maximising the potential of Newcastle’s Quayside and its waterfront has always been a key priority of NE1’s since the company was established in 2009. NE1 has channelled a significant amount of effort and focused activations in this area over the years, from the creation of the Newcastle City Marina, to much-loved summer activity programmes including the Quayside Seaside and last summer’s more extensive, linear park with light installations, artwork, and furniture, spanning a 1 kilometre stretch of the Quayside. The stunning Laser Light City display from award-winning light artist, Seb Lee-Delisle over the New Year period was another NE1 initiative designed to showcase the area and demonstrate the Quayside’s potential, as well as giving a flavour of how the area could look permanently.

Commenting on Gehl’s appointment and the appeal for the public to get involved with the consultation, Stephen Patterson, Chief Executive of NE1 said: “Over the next 5-10 years, in excess of £750m worth of investment is planned on the north and south banks of the Tyne, underlining the huge transformation that will happen in the area. It is the bits between the buildings, our civic space that stitches all of these amazing developments together. We need to think and plan for how the Quayside in its entirety is equipped for the future and this is the beginning of that conversation.

We all have our own thoughts and views on what we love, and what could be better about Newcastle’s Quayside. It’s now time to share them. We want to hear from as many people as possible about what they want to see on the Quayside, and we want people to be passionate, bold and ambitious. We are delighted to be working with Gehl, who are world-leading experts in creating healthy, liveable cities that focus on people. Gehl’s work has transformed thinking on cities and civic spaces and how people interact and engage with the public realm. We are excited by the possibilities that the Quayside presents. We know it is the jewel in Newcastle’s crown and we are keen to make the most of our assets, improving the area for future generations.

Ewa Westermark, who is leading on the Quayside project at Gehl said: “Newcastle is an amazing city and we are proud to be working on this fantastic project with NE1 and the people of Newcastle. It is an iconic location that is recognised the world over, but most importantly, it belongs to the people of the North East. Newcastle’s Quayside already has many of the hallmarks of an internationally significant waterfront destination with so many natural assets; stunning views, architecture both old and new, and iconic bridges. Newcastle has huge untapped potential, all the ingredients are there. An important next step is to further strengthen the waterfront in order for the quayside to be a liveable, accessible and better connected place for all.

“Our international perspective provides a deep understanding of place and the principles that help create inclusive and engaging spaces, but it is the aspirations, ambitions, and views of local people that will make this vision unique. It’s an exciting time for the city, and we look forward to working with NE1 and the people of the city to help articulate what this exciting future might look like.”

The maptionnaire can be found here.

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