Reimagining the public realm in the heart of Birmingham
Currently one of the largest urban realm projects in the UK, this ambitious £10m scheme will transform the public realm of the Snow Hill District in Birmingham’s City core. A key aim of the project was to “detune” the highway character of the Snow Hill area, putting pedestrians and cyclists first and providing them with a flexible and adaptable public realm able to host various activities.
The adopted design approach aimed at designing places around people, always with a consideration to providing more space and comfort for pedestrians and cyclists while moving away from a bias towards vehicle focused design that simply does not meet the complex needs of a modern city. A key element was human scale; proposals strive to maintain this scale at street level to deliver comfortable and enjoyable cityscapes.
A healthy streets approach aligned with community led placemaking will deliver the highest quality public realm adding value for tenants and attracting further inward investment. The framework includes the introduction of new public spaces and pedestrian first areas, green infrastructure, pocket parks and street furniture, encouraging businesses to occupy the street scene, and positioning the Snow Hill area in a global market.
"Broadway Malyan's creative flair in approaching urban design is enabling us to take our placemaking role as a Business Improvement District to a whole new level. Working across a multisectoral partnership hasn’t fazed them and problemsolving has been a particular strength."
The scheme also seeks to achieve a shift from utilitarian corridors to ‘healthy’ streets by improving the public realm, encouraging people towards public transport rather than cars, prioritising walking and cycling with significant positive impacts on air quality.
The substantial increase in green infrastructure promotes improved ecology and biodiversity and enables sustainable urban drainage opportunities. Since the outset, a solid yet innovative methodology was adopted, with continual referral to best practice and benchmarking.
Psychological traffic calming techniques are at the heart of the scheme. The aspiration for the project is to improve the pedestrian experience at this vital gateway into Birmingham and create a world-class environment that is recognised on a national and international level.