Arundel Street

Portsmouth City Centre
Portsmouth, UK

Submitted by: pete codling

A main pedestrian-friendly street in the city centre.

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Why It Works

This street has just been given a face lift and is the first part of a major refurbishment of the city centre shopping area. The design has been led by me, a local artist, in collaboration with a City Council Design Team. The street is approximately 500m long and 20m wide. It has a dynamic paving design and sculptural seats that celebrate famous Portsmouth personalities such as Charles Dickens, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

What Makes Arundel Street a Great Place?

This is a pedestrianised precinct. This part of the city centre has been slowly established over the last 300 years. It has a foot fall in the region of 25 -40 thousand on a busy day with good public transport links and with close car parking facilities. The far end of the street will soon house the shop mobility unit for electric chair users.

This is a city centre space with bespoke seating and public art elements. It is part of the City Council's Gold Zones for litter and maintenance. The landscape has been designed to celebrate the old canal that used have a basin in the street but has long since been reclaimed. The canal use to link Portsmouth to Arundel and London, hence the name Arundel Street. The pavement has been etched with quotes and phrases from famous residents and local children.

The street is one of the main entrances for pedestrians to the shopping centre. It has suffered badly over the last 30 years due to poor maintenance and large trees blocking light, vistas and lifting the pavement. The new boulevard style design invites people to investigate and spend leisure time there. There is a performance space and lots of perching places on the old granite blocks that have been used in the design. The blocks were part of the old canal wall and dry dock and have been reclaimed as secondary seating and landscape features.

The new landscape design has completely changed the atmosphere and brought in many new users who visit the street during lunch hour and are attracted to 'take a look' rather than pass on by. In the evening this is now a much safer, open and better lit street with good CCTV coverage. It is hoped that the new look will generate better economic growth and leisure use in the future.

History & Background

The design was a collaboration with a local artist and the local authority. It was seed funded by the Arts Council of England through an 'Art at the Centre Grant' that was set up to encourage the inclusion of artists in the design of public spaces. It has drawn heavily on public consultation and local history and is key part of the regeneration of a major UK city.

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