Gloucester receives part of £500,000 funding to bring in USA tourists

Anglo – American ‘Connections’ project receives funding to bolster Special Relationship

Gloucester and twelve destination partners have bid successfully for a £500,000 grant from VisitEngland in a collaborative project to develop a range of experiences directed at the US tourism market. ‘Connections’ will produce a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically for the American market, encouraging visitors to explore England beyond London. The experiences will aim to tap in to the fascination of the many connections between England and America – a shared history, language, culture and ancestry. In an effort to inspire many visitors to discover their roots and the authenticity of local English culture.

Connections is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right timeThe Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.

VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe, said:

“The calibre of submissions to the Discover England Fund reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England.  Our research shows that many US visitors come to Britain due to historic family connections and these ancestry themed itineraries will inspire them to explore more of regional England.

A large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations, Connections will develop tourism products in the lead up to 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World. Gloucester along with Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, Torbay and Worcestershire  will look into themes with significant appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, The writer of the American National Anthem, George Whitfield, The Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, WW2, US military and the ‘special relationship’.

The project also aims to showcase the best of England’s culture and heritage through the development of a broad range of specialist guided tours and behind the scenes experiences and will be sold in the US via tour operators and travel agents. There were 2.9 million overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year from North America alone, an increase of 21% on the same period last year.

Jason Smith, CEO of marketing Gloucester said:

“This funding will have a huge impact on tourism for the city of Gloucester from the USA market, and will help build on the phenomenal growth the city has shown over the last five years.  We are delighted to be among the select few destinations that will be receiving the benefits of this significant funding“

GloucesterAMERICAN CONNECTIONS WITH GLOUCESTER

BUTTON GWINNETT 1735-1777

Born in Gloucester and educated at the King’s School. He became an American political leader, who as a representative of Georgia to Congress, was the second of the signatories (first signature on the left) on the United States Declaration of Independence. He was also the provisional president of Georgia in 1777, and Gwinnett County (now a major suburb of Atlanta) was named after him.

Gwinnett was killed in a duel by Lachlan McIntosh following a dispute over a failed invasion of East Florida.

His father’s tomb at Down Hatherley has been restored recently but there is probably some interpretation to do.  I have asked Stephen if we can put a plaque on 10 College Green, where he would have lived as a child (as well as Down Hatherley) and we probably should do something at St Nicholas as his father was vicar there as well.

CAPTAIN HOWARD BLACKBURN

Captain Blackburn arrived in Gloucester docks in August 1899 after sailing his 30ft cutter “Great Eastern” single handed across the Atlantic from Gloucester Massachusetts. He had spent 61 days at sea and had been affected by a badly swollen leg which prevented him from raising sail for 8 days. This journey was even more remarkable as he had lost all his fingers, both thumbs and a toe through frost bite during a severe winter storm on an earlier fishing voyage.

Blackburn was welcomed at the quayside by a large crowd of sightseers. During his stay in the city he was entertained by a number of leading citizens. Several hundred people visited the docks to see his tiny craft and many were welcomed aboard and were offered bourbon whisky and ship’s biscuits.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD

Whitefield was born in 1714 at the Bell Inn in Southgate Street. He was educated at King’s School, the Crypt Grammar School and later at Pembroke College, Oxford in1732. It was at Oxford that he met John and Charles Wesley and joined their Christian Society or “Holy Club” who were referred to as “Methodists”.

Whitefield was ordained as deacon in 1736 and as a priest in1739 and preached his first sermon in St Mary de Crypt church. The pulpit he used, together with its sounding board can still be seen in the nave. He first sailed to America early in 1738, the first of 7 such trips, returning later the same year. Shortly afterwards he crossed the Atlantic again where he preached to large audiences from Pennsylvania in the north to Georgia in the south. The impact of Whitefield on both English and American society was immense and his greatest asset was his magnificent voice. Benjamin Franklin calculated that he could be heard by 30,000 people at any one time.

The charity school he founded in Pennsylvania was the forerunner of the present University and he was also involved in the creation of the college at Princeton, New Jersey. No fewer than 51 American schools and colleges owe their inception to him. During his sixth visit to the colonies the Library at Harvard University was totally destroyed by fire and Whitefield secured a large gift of books from England to re-equip a new building. He died on Sunday 30 September 1777 at Newburyport, Massachusetts having preached no fewer than 18,000 sermons to an estimated 10 million people in his lifetime.

JOHN STAFFORD SMITH

John Stafford Smith was baptised in Gloucester Cathedral on 30th of March 1750. He was educated at the cathedral school where he became an accomplished boy-singer. By the 1770’s he had gained a reputation as an excellent composer and organist in London. This led to his election as a member of the very select Anachreontic Society that boasted amongst its membership Dr Johnson, James Boswell, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Henry Purcell and J.C. Bach. Smith composed the music for the society’s constitutional song entitled “To Anachreon in Heaven”. This song became popular in America following the establishment of several Anachreontic societies there.

During the second year of the war of 1812 the British fleet made a night attack on Fort McHenry on the eastern seaboard of the United States. A local attorney, Francis Scott Key, had boarded a British warship to secure the release of an American prisoner. Key was held on board the ship so that he could not pass on any prior intelligence of the attack. He watched the bombardment throughout the night and was pleasantly surprised to see a huge American stars and stripes flag still flying above the fort as dawn broke. He immediately penned a four verse poem to the tune composed by John Stafford Smith that began “Oh! Say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light….”

The poem was printed on handbills the next morning and distributed throughout Baltimore. The song became immediately popular and three months later it was played during the Battle of New Orleans. “The Star Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the national anthem of the USA in March 1931.

MALCOLM COTTON BROWN

Born in 1897, he came from Chicago and trained as a pilot at Camp Benbrook, Fort Worth, Texas. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in January 1918 and joined the largely American 90 Squadron in June and was promoted to full Lieutenant in the newly formed RAF. The squadron was transferred to Brockworth on the 15th of July to await delivery of their Sopwith Dolphin single seat fighters. A week later only one aircraft arrived and the pilots drew lots to see who would be the first to fly it. Brown held the winning ticket and immediately took off to put the plane through its paces. He put the aircraft into a series of screaming dives pulling out at about 100 feet above the ground. Halfway through a dive the port wing folded up and the plane went into a corkscrew spiral into the ground. Malcolm Cotton Brown was killed instantly. A tree was planted in his memory at Brockworth and there is a large memorial plaque to him in St Mary de Lode church containing the words “A son of America fallen for England”.

INCREASE MATHER

An American Puritan who graduated from Harvard in 1656 and was later described as the “most distinguished American of his generation”. He became an assistant to James Forbes the Presbyterian minister in Gloucester. Mather preached at St Mary de Lode church in the morning and at the cathedral in the afternoon.  Although he was delighted with Gloucester and resolved to devote his life to its spiritual needs, he left the city in 1660. Mather refused to conform to the reformed Church of England and returned to America in June 1661.

He travelled to England again in 1688 in an attempt to restore the Charter for Massachusetts which had been lost in 1684. Mather became the sixth president of Harvard College from 1692 till 1701.

Mather was involved in denouncing the tests for witchcraft used during the famous Salem Witchcraft Trials.

GLOUCESTER MADE BELLS IN AMERICA

The oldest peal of bells in the USA are in Old North Church, Boston. They were made in 1744 by the famous Rudhall foundry in Gloucester and installed in 1745.

One of the first bell ringers at the church was Paul Revere who with William Dawes made the historic ride to warn the rebel militia that “The British are coming”. This was a prelude to the first battles of the American Revolution. The church tower was used to warn of the approach of the British forces. One light for an advance by land, two lights for one by sea.

The Rudhall foundry was on the site of the present Post Office in King’s Square. There is a plaque to the right of the entrance.

AMERICANS IN GLOUCESTER IN WWII

The following anecdote was related by an American visitor during a guided tour of Gloucester. His father had been a Provost Marshall with the North American forces on their arrival in England.

“Two Provost Marshalls visited Gloucester prison to assess the suitability of the accommodation for the detention for any law breaking military personnel. They requested to be locked up in one of the cells that evening and not to be released until 7.00am the following morning. The prison staff duly obliged, but were shocked to find that the two marshalls had escaped sometime during the night”.

 

 

 

 

ENDS.

Press enquiries: For more information, please contact Ben Hau on 01452 207020 or email ben@marketinggloucester.co.uk.

Notes for Editors

Connections Destination Partners

Destination Plymouth Ltd.

Destination Bristol Ltd.

English Riviera BID Company Ltd.

Essex County Council

Hampshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council

Marketing Gloucester Ltd.

Visit Cambridge and Beyond

Visit Cornwall CIC.

Visit Hertfordshire Ltd.

Visit Kent Ltd.

Visit Nottinghamshire

Visit Worcestershire Ltd.

 

About the Discover England Fund

  • In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund aims to deliver world-class bookable tourism products joined up across geographies and/or themes; including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
  • The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
  • The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches. In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support:
    • A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers,
    • A smaller funding pot for new one year pilot projects (in year two), and
    • Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).

 

About VisitBritain/VisitEngland

  • VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
  • Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com for consumer information.

 

About Marketing Gloucester

  • Promotes the City as a great place to live, work, study, visit and invest; locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Organises award-winning events and festivals, delivering to the city and region hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of pounds of GVA*.
  • Engages with businesses and investors.
  • Implements programmes to develop pride of place amongst residents.
  • Partners with Gloucester City Council, gFirst LEP, Cotswolds Tourism and Gloucestershire County Council.

Marketing Gloucester is a public private partnership.

 

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UK’s first Digital Retail Innovation Centre to be opened in Gloucester

Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP have announced a funding award of £400,000 to Marketing Gloucester to open a new national centre for digital retail innovation in the city.

The UK Digital Retail innovation Centre (UK:DRIC) will be the national centre for testing and developing disruptive digital innovations that will help shape and inform the future of cities with a special focus on retail.

 

The centre will be:

  • The national independent centre for technology solution providers and retailers to test innovative technologies and work in partnership to enhance and develop new and possibly disruptive solutions
  • A supportive incubator and catapult for high growth new retailers, all of whom will have access to next generation technologies and methodologies and will be targeted on rapid testing of their business model and growth
  • A centre for upskilling retailers in new and developing retail technologies and methodologies
  • UK:DRIC will be based on the first floor of the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gloucester for an initial period of three years.

Diane Savory, Chair of GFirst LEP, commented “This is an exciting opportunity for Gloucestershire as it further demonstrates that our urban areas are proving to be leaders in the developing of innovation in digital retail solutions.  We are delighted to be able to award this funding to Marketing Gloucester and confident that it will lead to further inward investment from the private and public sectors.”

UKDRIC

The UK:DRIC promises to be a showcase and testbed for the latest retail technologies and could show off some future innovations such as holographic “virtual employees”, artificial intelligence, 3D scanning and printing of products, drone deliveries, robotic security guards, 360 virtual mirrors and near field communication.

 

Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester (whose team will be driving the project), said “This is a huge opportunity for Gloucester to progress in our ambition to be a showcase and testbed for digital technologies, developing the city of 2050 by 2025.  There are huge challenges facing the UK retail sector and the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre has the potential to be a gamechanger which could have a national impact, we greatly appreciate the investment from GFirst LEP.”

Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council, explained why this new centre was so important for the city saying: “Gloucester is ideally positioned to be a pathfinder for the

development of new technologies, the past few years companies we have shown how innovative we as a city can be.  We were the first city to implement the three in one CCTV, Wifi and 4G solution, winning the prestigious Gordon McLanaghan Security Innovation Award; and have built up a wide range of partners such as Google’s Niantic Labs, #WDYT, Rewarding Visits and BT who have tested their technologies in the city.  There is huge potential for additional inward investment and additional jobs and this investment from GFirst LEP can act as a catalyst.”

 

The FACTS on Gloucester’s retail landscape since 2010 – 40% fewer empty shops!

In light of the recent article on Gloucestershire Live and some of the subsequent comments the following will be useful in setting the matters straight – demonstrating that the true story of Gloucester’s retail environment has been one of steady improvement and success over the last 7 years:

It is true that the city has gone through difficult times.  In 2010 the BBC reported on data issued by The Local Data company that stated that Gloucester had amongst the highest number of empty shops in the UK http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-11925423 . The city’s retail vacancy rate in 2010 was recorded at a high 21%.

Since then a lot has changed.  Millions of pounds have been invested in city regenertaion and a strategy was formulated and action taken to stimulate growth, with the city council high street initiatives providing funding and rate rebates to new businesses.  Funding has been put aside for grants to enable renovation of the city’s historic shops and investment continues to be made in Marketing Gloucester to help deliver footfall driving events and promote the city, something that has been highly effective with visitor numbers increasing by over 60% since 2013.

From 2010 to today there has been a 40% reduction in the number of empty shops

Today the retail vacancy rate for the whole city is 11.6% with Retail vacancy rate for the four Gate streets, Kings Square and the historic central Gloucester having fallen to 12.4% – this is almost exactly the same as the current national average for retail vacancy rates which is 12.3%.  By any measurement this is a success story.

Central Gloucester

Currently, Gloucester Quays, the Business Engagement team at Marketing Gloucester and the city council are receiving high levels of inquiries from national and local organisations who wish to follow the example of TK Maxx , Ted Baker and Cote Brasserie whose research has shown Gloucester as and ideal place to locate.   There has also been a crop of independent businesses starting up or expanding in the city.  There are many more ready to invest in the beautiful historic city.

The failing of Argos, BHS and a small Coop shop should not be seen as harbingers of doom for the city but are merely reflections of national retailers with failed models of operating or those seeking to change their operating practice.

The current successes though are likely to be nothing compared to those that are ahead in the bright future for the city.  There are currently massive regeneration projects going on around the city that will further stimulate growth. In 2016 Gloucester’s population overtook that of Cheltenham and is set to continue to rise, this  in itself will stimulate the retail sector further and lead to lower vacancies, as will the location of thousands of students to Gloucester by the University of Gloucester.

Yes the FACTS on Gloucester’s retail landscape since 2010 – show 40% fewer empty shops with plenty or reasons to believe that the improvement will continue.

 

 

 

 

 

Regards

What UK can learn from 5G in USA, Korea and Japan. Gloucester – the ideal test-bed

Cellcos don’t need 5G for people to make phone calls – their existing 4G networks have more than enough bandwidth for that. Cellcos also don’t need 5G for IoT applications, except for uses such as smart cars and smart cities because most IoT devices use very little bandwidth – although some need the low-latency that 5G provides. What cellcos need is to make 5G economically feasible for them. For that cellcos need people to watch lots and lots of videos that take lots of bandwidth, especially 4K videos, live streaming, VR and AR. The thought of live streaming has cellcos drooling. Notice what Verizon said about one reason it paid almost $5 billion to acquire Yahoo – live streaming of sports.

shutterstock_236128771

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently confirmed that Verizon is on target for beginning its launch of a commercially available service in 2017 by saying, during a recap of the company’s financial returns, “we see the stars aligning very quickly when it comes to the 5G future.” He also said the FCC has finished its radio specifications, which makes it feasible to begin testing of technical components. McAdam said Verizon’s work with 5G and the millimeter wave spectrum it will use is “preparing us for a fixed commercial wireless fiber launch in 2017.” McAdam added that the FCC’s approval of Verizon’s spectrum lease deal with XO Communications provides a “clear spectrum path for 5G deployment.”

Verizon clearly has its 5G eye on wireless broadband to homes. McAdam said, “I think of 5G, initially as, in effect, wireless fiber. With wireless fiber, the so-called last mile can be a virtual connection dramatically changing our cost structure.” He said the most expensive part of deploying its FiOS fiber network is just outside and inside the home, an expense that would not exist with the use of 5G. He said that FiOS and 5G routers cost the same, but that 5G doesn’t use an optical network terminal (ONT) that is typically mounted on an outside wall. McAdam said Verizon expects there will be a significant cost reduction when 5G becomes available.

Verizon, together with Ericsson and Nokia, has been testing 5G in Dallas, New Jersey and Virginia. The speeds it’s getting are truly fantastic for a wireless cellular network. McAdams said that in its tests, it has been getting speeds above 1 Gbps at over 500 yards, which is more than enough for up to six 4K TV signals, six virtual reality units and multiple smartphones and tablets.

McAdam said Verizon’s now in the process of moving that work into the field, where it can start to cover 200-home developments. It will also look at some rural environments.

Unlike 3G, 4G and WiFi, 5G is said to have the latency and steadfastness that, until now, only wireline networks could offer.

McAdam didn’t say it specifically, but 5G, if it performs as promised, will substantially reduce the costs of building wireline broadband networks because telcos do not have to install any wiring within the last 100-500 or so yards (meters) of the home. Telcos and cablecos will still need to install fiber to within 100-500 yards of the home. At that point it will install a 5G cell, probably on a utility pole or building, and then a 5G-capable router in the home – no digging up streets and yards or installing wires on utility poles. Telcos could install fiber to an MDU (Multiplexer and Distribution Unit), of which the world has millions, and then install a 5G cell in or just outside the MDU to offer high-speed broadband to the MDU’s residences.

5G could serve broadband services providers as a wireless form of G.fast or VDSL broadband technologies – with no wires required. Cablecos, who already install fiber close to the residence, could also use 5G instead of installing coax to and inside the residence. It is still not clear whether service providers will use 5G to connect each device to the internet or whether the 5G cell will connect to a router in the home, which will then connect to each device via WiFi or a wireline home network.

Verizon boasts about having built the US’ “best” 4G network. It was the first major telco in the world to build an all-fiber network – albeit in only 70% of its copper wire footprint. The cost of installing fiber over the last mile to the home may have prevented it from going all-fiber throughout its entire wireline footprint. 5G could solve that problem. It could also allow Verizon to offer high-speed broadband outside its wireline footprint – wherever its recently acquired XO Communications fiber rings exist. That would for the first time put Verizon in direct competition with AT&T, who could also do the same by building more fiber networks to near residences. Verizon could become a nationwide broadband powerhouse, something that’s sure to have Comcast and AT&T thinking about doing the same.

Verizon is simultaneously building a media company with the AOL and Yahoo assets it acquired, a media company that it is positioning for streaming content to millions of consumers.

McAdam said Verizon can add 5G to its existing cellular network for very little additional cost because it will densify its existing 4G networks with small cells.

Verizon CFO and SVP Fran Shammo said 2017 will be a development year for 5G, but added that the FCC’s approval this week of its spectrum leases with XO could move up its deployments “to get to a commercial launch and actually start to generate revenue.” He said, “I think that will come in either very late 2017 or early 2018.”

Verizon said it will later on test use cases for mobile 5G that supports the “massive” scale and low-latency that IoT services require.

Other cellcos such as AT&T and Korea Telecom (KT) are working to begin deploying 5G sooner than its 2020 forecast date. AT&T is pressured by Verizon and AT&T’s own massive and costly effort to upgrade its aging wireline broadband network to all-fiber and to G.fast over existing copper phone wires to MDUs.

KT is pressured by the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics that South Korea is hosting. Japanese cellco NTT DoCoMo is testing 5G for the real-time transmission of 8K video. It completed tests with Nokia on May 19. The tests used beam-tracking techniques to transmit millimeter wavelength signals at the extremely high frequency of 70 GHz. The trial showed that 8K video of 48 Gbps, which is four times larger than 4K video and 32 times than 1080p HD, was transmitted without any delays. Japan hosts the 2020 summer Olympics and wants to show off wireless streaming of it in 8K.

Streaming videos, especially live streaming, is very important to Verizon’s wireless strategy. It said its $4.83 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating businesses will help it become a bigger player in mobile media. McAdam said Verizon sees “tremendous opportunity in the digital video marketplace” and “content creators and advertisers are hungry for alternatives as the market expands for both in-home and mobile consumption. Verizon intends to be a significant player in this space.”

Verizon especially likes sports videos because it can stream games over its Go90 network, cellular network, FiOS, AOL and Yahoo. McAdam said, “we view this as a waterfall of content moving down through our different properties.”

McAdam said Verizon is moving ahead with cities such as Boston, San Fran-cisco and others on a one-fiber strategy for both cellular and FiOS. He said, “no longer are discussions solely about local franchise rights, but how to make forward-looking cities more productive and effective” and that its deal to acquire XO’s 40 metro fiber rings in major cities is the key to this strategy.

Credit: http://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/verizon-will-first-use-5g-create-fixed-wireless-broadband-networks/

Latest vacant property opportunities in Gloucester

Gloucester BID
Retailer Unit Building Shopping Area Street Number Street Town Postcode County Sub Category
Vacant Property R10 Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SH Gloucestershire Restaurant – American
Vacant Property 66c Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SH Gloucestershire Gift Shops
Vacant Property 99a Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SF Gloucestershire Antique Dealers
Vacant Property Railway House Bruton Way Gloucester GL1 1DG Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property Lister House Station Road Gloucester GL1 1EN Gloucestershire Hairpieces & Wigs
Vacant Property 1b St. Aldate Street Gloucester GL1 1RP Gloucestershire Recruitment Agencies
Vacant Property 5 St. Aldate Street Gloucester GL1 1RP Gloucestershire Fast Food Takeaway
Vacant Property 8 Wellington Street Gloucester GL1 1RA Gloucestershire Fast Food Takeaway
Vacant Property 3 Station Road Gloucester GL1 1EQ Gloucestershire Public Houses & Inns
Vacant Property Grosvenor House 8 Station Road Gloucester GL1 1SZ Gloucestershire Pawnbrokers
Vacant Property 1 St. Aldate Street Gloucester GL1 1RP Gloucestershire Bride & Groom Shops
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 39 Clarence Street Gloucester GL1 1EA Gloucestershire Recruitment Agencies
Vacant Property 20-22 Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre Bell Walk Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Clothes – Men
Vacant Property Clarencegate House 57 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1PN Gloucestershire Estate Agents
Vacant Property 84-86 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1QN Gloucestershire Hearing Aids
Vacant Property Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1PU Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property 15 Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SH Gloucestershire Clothes – Men
Vacant Property 1 Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SH Gloucestershire Clothes – Men
Vacant Property 79 Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet Gloucester Quays Factory Outlet St. Ann Way Gloucester GL1 5SF Gloucestershire Clothes – Women
Vacant Property 176 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 2EX Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property 115 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UT Gloucestershire Hairdressers
Vacant Property 156a Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 2EX Gloucestershire Beds, Bedding & Blankets
Vacant Property 101 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UR Gloucestershire Cafe & Tearoom
Vacant Property 99 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UR Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property 79 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UB Gloucestershire Restaurant – Mexican/Tex Mex
Vacant Property 61-63 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1TX Gloucestershire Haberdashers
Vacant Property 8 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 1SE Gloucestershire Mobile Phones
Vacant Property 51-51a Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 2AJ Gloucestershire Amusement Parks & Arcades
Vacant Property 7 Worcester Street Gloucester GL1 3AJ Gloucestershire Sewing Machines
Vacant Property 2 Hare Lane Gloucester GL1 2BB Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property 95a-97 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 2AA Gloucestershire Restaurant – Chinese
Vacant Property 95 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 2AA Gloucestershire Estate Agents
Vacant Property 100 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 1SL Gloucestershire Estate Agents
Vacant Property 106 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 1SL Gloucestershire Tailors
Vacant Property Apsley House 2 Spa Road Gloucester GL1 1XA Gloucestershire Dentists
Vacant Property 16 Commercial Road Gloucester GL1 2EA Gloucestershire Dress Agencies
Vacant Property 16 The Oxebode Gloucester GL1 1RZ Gloucestershire Jewellers
Vacant Property 2a The Oxebode Gloucester GL1 1RZ Gloucestershire Hair & Beauty Salons
Vacant Property 17 St. Johns Lane Gloucester GL1 2AZ Gloucestershire Solicitors
Vacant Property 97 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2PG Gloucestershire Grocers
Vacant Property 88-90 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NZ Gloucestershire Restaurant – Indian
Vacant Property 41 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NW Gloucestershire Mobile Phones
Vacant Property 5 Park Road Gloucester GL1 1LH Gloucestershire Restaurant – Thai
Vacant Property 7 Park Road Gloucester GL1 1LH Gloucestershire Public Houses & Inns
Vacant Property 4 Brunswick Road Gloucester GL1 1HG Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property Morroway House Whitfield Street Gloucester GL1 1NA Gloucestershire Solicitors
Vacant Property 4 St. Michaels Buildings Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1PD Gloucestershire Coffee Shops
Vacant Property 9 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NW Gloucestershire Cheque Cashing
Vacant Property 17a Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NL Gloucestershire Shop – Unknown
Vacant Property 56 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NF Gloucestershire Bars
Vacant Property 48 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NF Gloucestershire Clothes – Women
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 23a Kings Walk Gloucester GL1 1RX Gloucestershire Fashion Accessories
Vacant Property Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre 2 Bell Walk Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Cafe & Tearoom
Vacant Property 6 Lister House Station Road Gloucester GL1 1EQ Gloucestershire Convenience Stores
Vacant Property Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre 10-11 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Cafe & Tearoom
Vacant Property Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre 7 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Computers
Vacant Property Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre 8 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Film Developers
Vacant Property Eastgate Shopping Centre Eastgate Shopping Centre 9 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1XH Gloucestershire Bakers Shops
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 27-39 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1YU Gloucestershire Department Stores
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 24a-26 Kings Walk Gloucester GL1 1RW Gloucestershire Mobile Phones
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 30 Kings Walk Gloucester GL1 1RW Gloucestershire Art Galleries & Fine Art Dealers
Vacant Property Kings Walk Shopping Centre Kings Walk Shopping Centre 2 Clarence Walk Gloucester GL1 1HD Gloucestershire Party Goods / Novelties
Vacant Property 112 Eastgate Street Gloucester GL1 1QT Gloucestershire Bars
Vacant Property 11 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 2AN Gloucestershire Mobile Phones
Vacant Property 9 Worcester Street Gloucester GL1 3AJ Gloucestershire Gift Shops
Vacant Property 50 Northgate Street Gloucester GL1 1SQ Gloucestershire Charity Shops
Vacant Property 180 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 2EZ Gloucestershire Motorbikes & Accessories
Vacant Property 76 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 2DX Gloucestershire Card & Poster Shops
Vacant Property 20 Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 2DP Gloucestershire Health Clinics
Vacant Property 46 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NF Gloucestershire Florists
Vacant Property 115 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2PG Gloucestershire Tour Operators
Vacant Property 93 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2PG Gloucestershire Fast Food Takeaway
Vacant Property 57 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NW Gloucestershire Letting Agents
Vacant Property 47 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NW Gloucestershire Clothes – Children
Vacant Property 31 Westgate Street Gloucester GL1 2NW Gloucestershire Cafe & Tearoom

Why Gloucester is becoming a pathfinder for UK and global companies testing Digital High Street and Smart City initiatives

Gloucester is rapidly developing an international reputation as a pathfinder for UK and global companies testing Digital High Street and smart city initiatives. So what’s leading to the spotlight being shone on this small city, nestled at the foot of the Cotswolds?

No one can deny that there is a wind of change blowing across the retail environment, with national trends in the UK  showing a steady decline in footfall for many of the country’s towns and cities.  Following hot on the movement towards out of town developments, the impact of Internet shopping through giants such as Amazon has left many traditional shopping areas struggling to fill voids and on a downward spiral of lower footfall.

Local and national governmental orgnisations around the world have recognised the challenge and are attempting to address this with reports such as those produced by Mary Portas.

However with every challenge there comes opportunity, and it is an opportunity that those involved with managing the city of Gloucester were determined to grasp and to do so in such a way as to put the small city at the forefront of the development of technologies that  potentially could have a transformative effect on how residents and visitors will use their town and city centres in the future.

In 2014, Marketing Gloucester, the place making organisation for the city of Gloucester set out its aims to make the city the go to place for technology providers looking to develop smart city and digital high street solutions.

Jason Smith, CEO of Marketing Gloucester told us: “Gloucester is ideally suited to solution providers test bedding new technologies.  It is a relatively compact city, with a representative demographic and a high degree of innovation and good digital infrastructure.  It is a city that confirms with many of the norm baselines and so can provide an excellent modelling opportunity. Most importantly there is a team of people here who have built up a huge group of partners, including the University, private sector, and the local authority, who are happy to speedily adopt innovative products. By working with a wide range of partners we are rapidly building the jigsaw that will lead to digital solutions to support town and city centres and produce a seamless journey which will lead consumers from online to bricks and mortar”

Innovations

Some of the innovations that have taken place in just a few years have included Gloucester becoming one of the first in the world and the first city in the UK to adopt a three in one integrated solution with CCTV over IP, Free high-speed WIFI across the whole city and 4G being installed simultaneously.  This model won the city a prestigious Gordon McLanaghan Security Innovation Award and has since been adopted by Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leicester and Newcastle with others to follow.

Gloucester Councillor Jenny Watkins was instrumental in driving through the provision of this three in one solution and said “Once it was evidenced to us by Marketing Gloucester that we could leverage the funding we had budgeted for CCTV to also provide a step change in WIFI and 4G digital infrastructure, it become obvious to me that we should seize the opportunity especially since it would allow us to pursue our goals for digital inclusion and to be a connected city.”

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BT’s Paul Coles and Cllr jennie Dallimore at the launch of the UK’s first 3 in 1 solution

A recent survey of the City centre wifi showed that over 10 million people had potential access to this annually with speeds regularly being reported of up to 136 mbps – which equates to faster download speeds than most people achieve at home or at their place of work.

So what else has been going on in Gloucester that is building its reputation as the place to testbed digital high street and smart city technolgies?

In 2015 Gloucester became the first destination outside of the UK to partner with Google’s Niantic Labs on the FieldTrip™ app, which allows virtual, location based tourism information through cell phone, tablet or Google Glass.  Whilst Google Glass may have come and gone, the relationship between Marketing Gloucester and Niantic labs has shown real dividends during the recent Pokemon Go™ craze.

Pokemon Go™ is also produced by Naintic Labs and since much of the location data for Pokestops and Gyms was based on existing information uploaded for Fieldtrip™ and Niantic’s app Ingress™, Gloucester has an especially rich environment for Pokemon Go™ players which has attracted players from around the region, boosting the local economy.  Needless to say Marketing Gloucester, were not shy in capitalising on this through social media, and by educating and encouraging retailers to promote their businesses near Pokestops and gyms and quickly trained retailers how to use the opportunities by purchasing and using Pokemon “Lures”.  Gloucester cafe owner Nick Brookes reported “it was incredible the number of people who came and sat down in the cafe once we started using the Lures”

Prof. Richard Cuthbertson of Said Business School, University of Oxford has been examining Gloucester’s example as part of  a European wide study, he has praised the city’s approach commenting:

“In our research of European cities with a positive focus towards digital technologies, especially those involving small retailers, Gloucester is an excellent example. This city recognises the need for a independent, third party enabler in Marketing Gloucester, providing a long-term, single point of contact, developing the relevant digital and physical infrastructure with multiple means of access for customers and retailers, while utilising simple tools, all within a strategy for “place” that encompasses the individual flavour provided by local retailers and services.”

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Dr Richard Cuthberstson Said Business School, Prof Fabio Fulvio, of Italy’s retail organisation Confcommercio and Jason Smith CEO Marketing Gloucester

Two of the projects that are currently being implemented are those being developed by Rewarding Visits, which was granted £1 million from the UK Government, Innovate UK funding, and Maybe, a solution that is being delivered as part of the DCLG, Great British High Street Project.  Both of these are operating within the Digital high Street environment with the aim of encouraging purchasing to me made in bricks and mortar business rather than online.

Guy Chatburn, of Rewarding Visits, which won a £1 million Innovate UK grant to develop digital high street solutions comments “We chose Gloucester as the partner location for the third phase of the role out of our technology, primarily because alongside a great digital infrastructure, the city had a “can do” organisation like Marketing Gloucester that already had the trust of a wide range number of partners throughout the city which  it could rally together relatively easily in order to enable our project to happen.  They were especially good at helping us work with other organisations operating in complimentary areas such as Stagecoach and Trinity Mirror.  There was also a much lower learning curve as Gloucester has a team with a understanding of the tech and the issues facing towns and cities, and that has definitely lead to us having a much stronger offering in a shorter period of time”.

touchpoint-towns-malls

One of eleven Digital Touchpoint booths, part of the Rewarding Visits solution to be installed across Gloucester March 2017

Polly Barnfield OBE of “Maybe*” backed this up saying “Gloucester has proven to be the perfect place for us to test our digital high street solution #WDYT, and the help from Marketing Gloucester, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucester City Council was instrumental in enabling us to successfully roll out our pathfinder project across the other conurbations in the county and now futher across the country.”

Marketing Gloucester is part funded by Gloucester City Council with a board made up with movers and shakers in the private sector and chaired by the Leader of Gloucester City Council Paul James who is justifiably proud of the progress in realising the aims to make the city the go to place for technology providers looking to develop smart city and digital high street solutions. Councillor James is ambitious to build on the successes to date, commenting “The world is just at the beginning of the transformational opportunities presented by digital technologies and its great that Gloucester is being viewed as the ideal place to test these. In fact the city has a history of innovation in digital and high performance technologies, including being the home to Fasthost (UKreg owned by United Internet), Amazon’s Print on Demand service, Raytheon’s recently opened cyber security division, and Tidal Lagoon Power. We are open to working with those looking for a compact city to testbed their technologies”

Marketing Gloucester is also currently working with the Local Data Company (LDC) who with University of London are developing next generation footfall data collection and reporting,  combined with their current retail dashboard.  There are plans for Gloucester to have the highest number in the UK of LDC sensors generating data that will help retailers and place management teams intelligently model the city.

What next?

So what for the future?  Jason Smith says that he is keen to continue building relationships with technology solution providers to build the jigsaw that will deliver a unified digital, place-based, solution for bricks and mortar retailers, and he mentioned Facebook and IBM as being targets for partnership.  He enthusiastically responds when asked about the long term goals “this is all about letting tech companies know that Gloucester is the ideal place to test their technologies from the point of view of physical environment, infrastructure and partners already operating in the city.  This is a city where we present solutions not problems to businesses wanting to be involved and we welcome new partners”

It is clear that Gloucester has very ambitious plans to be a smart city, and from talking to those involved, it looks like they might achieve it.

Follow updates:

#digitalhighstreet @jasonijsmith

Extraordinary data showing huge growth in tourism in Gloucester

gloucester-tall-ships-1429542755-custom-0

Gloucester Tall Ships – one of the events driving tourism

Latest provisional data from independent research organisation The South West Research Company Ltd shows the extraordinary success Gloucester has had in attracting tourists to the city since 2013 with the Cathedral city overtaking Cheltenham in 2015.

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  •  Total visitor spend in Gloucester in 2015 exceeded £200 million a massive 68% increase from 2013, with spend increasing by 72% over the same period
  • Over 4100 Jobs supported by tourism in Gloucester equivalent to 7% of total employment in the city with an additional 1,300 jobs created since 2013
  • A massive jump in day visitors to 3.1 million a year in 2015 from 2 million in 2013
  • 11% growth in hotel bookings over the period
  • Gloucester showing fastest growth in tourism for the whole county

Paul James, Chair of Marketing Gloucester “We can be immensely proud of how the hard work and investment put into developing Gloucester as a tourist destination is showing returns.  All areas are showing extraordinary results which beat both regional and national trends”

 

When asked if there were any indicators for the future, Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester responded “One thing the figures highlight is that with such high occupancy rates, it is a matter of urgency that we increase the number of Hotels within the city in order to not create barriers to growth”

Marketing Gloucester is an organisation that is owned by Gloucester City Council, with a board of Private sector directors, Chaired by leader of the city council, Councillor Paul James.  Along with being the tourism and marketing body for the city is also responsible for inward investment and events

 

Gloucestershire
2015
Cheltenham Gloucester Gloucestershire
UK trips 311,200 292,300 1,893,000
Overseas trips 45,100 42,800 258,000
Total trips 356,300 335,100 2,151,000
Comparison v 13 % -3 25 16
UK nights 688,000 626,000 4,504,000
Overseas nights 308,000 269,000 1,696,000
total nights 996,000 895,000 6,200,000
Comparison v 13 % -16 11 4
UK spend £51,246,000 £44,287,000 £314,225,000
Overseas spend £19,403,000 £17,005,000 £111,497,000
Total spend £70,649,000 £61,292,000 £425,722,000
Comparison v 13 % -8 5%
Tourism day visits 1,822,000 3,165,000 18,029,000
Comparison v 13 % -4 52 -3
Tourism day visit spend £75,798,000 £130,547,000 £625,385,000
Comparison v 13 % 10 75 8
Other visitor related spend £7,713,000 £8,459,000 £43,420,000
Comparison v 13
Total visitor related spend £154,160,000 £200,298,000 £1,094,527,000
Comparison v 13 % 6 68 16
Total business turnover £198,493,000 £254,715,000 £1,525,183,000
Comparison v 13 -1 55 28
GVA £112,290,000 £144,919,000 £859,316,000
Total GVA £11,632,000,000
Tourism as % of total 7%
Comparison v 13 % -0.6 35.7
Staying tourist supported employment
Direct FTE employment 915 802 5,443
Indirect &  induced FTE employment 480 423 3,751
Actual jobs 1,854 1,618 12,062
% of employment 3% 3% 4%
Comparison v 13 % -13 27 8
Day visitor supported employment
Direct FTE employment 735 1,233 6,168
Indirect &  induced FTE employment 340 582 3,984
Actual jobs 1,477 2,491 13,654
% of employment 3% 4% 4%
Comparison v 13 % 0 65 -4

A chance for #Gloucester! Ideas for a new vernacular architecture.

Developing a new vernacular for the city of Gloucester

For those involved in the regeneration of the Cathedral city of Gloucester there are few, if any who would deny that the city is “on the up”. Economic indicators show that this is a city that is growing at a region beating pace. As a city, Gloucester finally seems to have its ducks in a row regarding the pieces of regeneration that need to be undertaken to complete the incredible transformation that we can see significantly completed at the Quays and Docks. Money has been committed to the development of Blackfriars Quarter, Barbican and Quayside with a start date scheduled for the first ground clearance and the former Prison is ready to be developed. Money has been committed, assets purchased and architects appointed for the bus station in Kings Quarter. Development of an iconic multi-use venue located at Southgate moorings has been muted and if realised would fill the much maligned “missing link” between Gate streets and the redeveloped Quays.

GlooucesterCathedral

All of these are exciting projects behind which there is a head of steam, but maybe now – before we start sending in the excavators – is the time that we should pause and examine exactly what we want to see at these locations and what the city needs in order to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the current population and to overcome the barriers to growth for Gloucester becoming a “complete” city.

Although there can be much debate as to what type of development should be where – residential, hotels, leisure, cultural facilities and so-on the purpose of this article is not to consider the type of development but to discuss whether before we run headlong at our new regeneration projects we should not first try and establish how we want these to look.

Gloucester has been presented with a once in a life time opportunity to define the look and feel of the city. The major redevelopments will be positioned at points in the city where they will make a statement. The question we must ask ourselves is what do we want that statement to be?

My view is that it is now that we should be looking to develop guidelines for a new vernacular architecture for Gloucester – and one that directly speaks to the heart of the residents of the city and will continue to build on what makes this city unique. For too long major developments have been imposed on the city in a watered down homogenous form that at best pays lip service to place.

In developing this new vernacular architecture we need to answer two questions – what are we hoping to achieve by this and what will be its influences and points of reference.

By developing a new vernacular, planners, influencers and visionaries in Gloucester have a chance to help define what Gloucester is both to its citizens and to the wider world. By promoting this new vernacular in iconic keystone developments there is an opportunity to develop the sense of place and civic pride that is needed by every thriving city which aims to grow.

So what should the new vernacular reference? In many cities and towns this might seem a difficult question and possibly even in Gloucester where over the 2000 years of history there have been a wide range of architectural influences and materials. These include buildings constructed from the remains of the Roman and later Anglo-Saxon fortifications, fine timber framed buildings such as The New Inn and 26 Westgate, Regency, and red brick within the industrial dock areas and Victorian and Edwardian suburbs.

Yet alongside of all of these – none of which is peculiarly home grown – in Gloucester there is a piece of architecture that already is defined by and defines the city. This piece of architecture was created by local craftsmen using local materials and using locally developed new forms and techniques which were years ahead of their contemporaries. It is a building that has influenced many other significant buildings in the city’s history and worldwide. This building is the beautiful, iconic Abbey of St Peters otherwise known as Gloucester Cathedral.

This is the building that I believe should be the touchstone for developing the new vernacular for Gloucester. Without being recidivist we should be looking to develop an architectural pallet of materials and design themes that will enable visitors and locals alike to identify the new developments as being uniquely Gloucester. There are three, possibly four influences that I believe any architect seeking to produce civic architecture that truly references Gloucester should refer to. These are as follows.

  • Perpendicular Gothic[1]
  • Large glass windows subdivided geometrically
  • Limestone
  • Fan Vaulting

perpendicular-window

Imagine developments such as the new bus station, Kings Quarter and a beautiful iconic multi-use cultural center on Southgate moorings which whilst refraining from cliché nevertheless reference and reinterpret the soaring and elegant perpendicular gothic arch, large glass windows divided geometrically and reflecting and empahasising colour and utilised the warm cotswold colours the people of Gloucester identify with the building which defines the city. This is the opportunity.

The politicians and planners of Gloucester have the chance now to demonstrate a genuine vision for the city of Gloucester, one that is not a watered down, pastiched version of internationalist modernism but one born of Gloucester and one that will make the people of Gloucester prouder still of their home city. Any architect involved in this project should try to get under the skin of the identity of the city and its citizens and aim to present architectural that will truly inspire the next generations, following the spirit of those who design the Cathedral and aiming to design something that is not just of 2015 but buildings that will not date but will  have a timeless quality and still have relevance in 100 or 200 years.

 

[1] http://www.britainexpress.com/architecture/perpendicular.htm

Contemporary Architecture in Historic Urban Environments

Conservation image

A critical issue facing decision makers and conservation professionals is accommodating change to heritage places and adding new layers to the historic urban environment in ways that recognize, interpret, and sustain their heritage values. Over the last decade, a vigorous debate has ensued regarding the appropriateness of contemporary architectural insertions into historic urban areas. This debate has polarized sectors of the architectural community, pitting conservationists against planners and developers. It has positioned conservationists as antidevelopment and antiprogress, responsible for stifling the creativity of a new generation of architects and their right to contemporary architectural expression.

Change, however, is inevitable. Buildings, streetscapes, and urban areas evolve and change according to the needs of their inhabitants. Therefore, it is important to determine the role of contemporary architecture in contributing to this change in ways that conserve and celebrate the special character and quality of the historic environment that communities have recognized as important and wish to conserve for future generations.

Historic areas typically exhibit a range of heritage values, such as social, historical, and architectural. Frequently, they also have aesthetic significance; therefore, the design quality of new insertions in a historic area is important. One of the challenges in this debate on the role of contemporary architecture in historic contexts is that design quality can be seen as subjective. Assessing the impact of new development in a historic context has also been accused of being subjective. However, increasing development pressure has pushed governments and the conservation community to provide more objective guidance to secure what is termed “the three Cs,” namely:

  • certainty in the planning system about what constitutes appropriate development;
  • consistency in government decision making; and
  • communication and consultation between government decision makers and the development sector on creating successful outcomes.

Design professionals differentiate between taste and design quality. Taste is subjective, while quality is measurable. Prescriptive planning tools such as height restrictions, envelope limitations, and requirements to use certain materials all attempt to provide qualitative design measures. In many places, it is only when a historic building or area is involved that issues of design quality and character are included in the planning process through development or impact assessment. Clearly there is a need to provide guidance or establish well-understood standards to assess new development occurring within treasured streetscapes, neighborhoods, or historic landscapes, in order to meet the three Cs. Given that the debate is now occurring at a global scale, such standards need to achieve some level of consensus at an international level.

STARCHITECTURE IN THE HISTORIC CITY

Conservation image

The recent phenomenon of celebrity architecture—those landmark buildings described by Charles Jencks as “enigmatic signifiers”—has elevated the new architectural monument to the status of a great artwork and signals the emergence of those who have come to be known as starchitects.¹ City leaders, anxious to secure global status for their city in an increasingly competitive world, have turned to these international celebrity architects to create new iconic landmarks to put their city on the map. For example, Frank Gehry’s brief for the Guggenheim Museum (1993–97) was “to do for Bilbao what the Sydney Opera House did for Sydney.”²

Jencks, in his 2005 book The Iconic Building, contrasts the traditional monument with the celebrity building—which is driven by commercial needs and whose role it is to stimulate interest and investment in cities through its attention-grabbing, provocative design. “In the past,” he writes, “important public buildings, such as the cathedral and the city hall, expressed shared meaning and conveyed it through well-known conventions.”³ Such important public monuments may be museums, as is the case with the Guggenheim in Bilbao, but since the mid-1990s, the monumental approach has been extended to a wider range of private buildings, such as department stores, apartment buildings, and even additions to family homes. The acceptability or fashion for attention-grabbing buildings means that difference is applauded and is celebrated over contextualized design—the approach the preservation community generally advocates. Some of these buildings may be fabulous, but how many monuments does the urban environment need? What will it be like in the future when the buildings are all unrelated, each vying for attention and without the traditional hierarchy of monumentality that enables a reading of the urban landscape as it relates to function? Where does the iconic building fit within the already existing iconic urban fabric of the historic city?

Herein lies the conflict. Starchitecture clamors for attention to consciously create an identity for the aspiring global city. In the case of the historic city, such as those included on the World Heritage List, the city has already been recognized more often than not for its architectural, aesthetic, and historic character. Preservationists would argue that the historic city is already iconic, so new development that seeks to stand apart from it is likely to receive criticism from communities, many of which have worked hard to protect the historic area. Sometimes it is the homogeneity or unity of the architecture that is important; sometimes it is the combination of historic layers and parts that contributes to significance. Perhaps ironically, inevitably it is its local distinctiveness that is being celebrated through the international recognition World Heritage listing brings.

In the early 2000s, a number of World Heritage sites were nominated to the List of World Heritage in Danger, due to proposed, highly contemporary development deemed inappropriate because it potentially threatened the outstanding universal values of the nominated sites. The call by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) for action to address this issue resulted in a 2005 conference in Vienna entitled “World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture—Managing the Historic Urban Landscape.” The outcome of this meeting was the Vienna Memorandum,4 which proposes an integrated approach to the contemporary development of existing cities in a way that does not compromise their heritage significance. Since that time, the WHC has worked with its advisory bodies to address a number of related issues pertaining to the conservation and management of the historic urban landscape.5 Simultaneously, many local governments and heritage institutions have worked to develop guidance to gain a shared understanding of what constitutes appropriate development in the historic environment between owners, developers, and decision making bodies.6

CREATING TOMORROW’S HERITAGE

There are varying views on what constitutes appropriate new development within a historic context. Some argue that new insertions to the fabric of the historic urban environment should be in the style of the old. Historically, traditional settlements and cities like Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco or Zanzibar’s stone town have demonstrated a continuum of building traditions that exemplifies this approach. In the pre-modern era, redevelopment in commercial city centers, such as London’s Regent Street, followed a Beaux Arts approach, with grand town planning and architectural gestures. With the advent of Modernism, large-scale reconstruction, which architecturally broke with traditional architectural and planning forms, changed the face of many cities in the twentieth century. In recent times, in reaction to modern interventions, some architects have chosen to continue to design buildings in a more historical style while nevertheless utilizing modern materials and technologies. Others abhor historicism and argue that each generation should represent its own time. New layers should represent the ideas, technology, materials, and architectural language of each generation. Pastiche is a dirty word.

The historic environment can, in fact, accommodate a rich variety of interpretations and expressions. A vernacular or traditional response may be as valid as a more contemporary response. It is the quality of the relationship between old and new that is critical, not the architectural language per se. Issues such as scale, form, siting, materials, color, and detailing are important to consider when assessing the impact of a new development within a cherished historic town, city, or site. These criteria are examples of those typically considered when assessing the impact of new development in a historic context.7

Most successful new buildings designed in a valued historic context inevitably rely on an understanding of, and then response to, the special character and qualities of the context. As with any conservation work, understanding significance of the place is crucial. Also in common with most conservation work is that it is case specific. A city center with an architecturally unified city core may need a different approach than one that has a variety of architectural forms, scales, and expressions. In an urban settlement that continues to sustain traditional craft and building techniques and materials, it may be extremely important to promote the continuation of these practices.

An important starting point is the premise that the place has been identified by present and past generations to be important enough to warrant protection and be subject to the prevailing laws, regulations, and policies to secure its conservation and to manage change in such a way that its significance is conserved. The responsibility of designers is to ensure that their work contributes to and enriches rather than diminishes the built environment. Conservation principles can often lead to heightened levels of creativity. Many architects, initially frustrated by the seeming interference of the conservation practitioner, in the end will agree that the outcome has been enhanced through a rigorous, well-articulated process.

Conservation is a balance between preserving the special character, quality, and significance of the historic place and facilitating change in a way that sustains it into the future. Inevitably every decision and subsequent action is of its own time. The role of the conservation practitioner is to ensure that today’s decisions do not do irreparable damage. Successful designers recognize that working within the historic context is not a constraint but an opportunity— where the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts, and where a contemporary building can add a rich new layer and play a role in creating the heritage of the future.

 


1. Charles Jencks, The Iconic Building (New York: Rizzoli, 2005).
2. Jencks, Iconic Building, 12.
3. Jencks, Iconic Building, 7.
4. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Vienna Memorandum on World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture— Managing the Historic Landscape (Vienna: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2005). 5. The World Heritage Center’s Historic Cities Program is engaged in developing a recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, including investigating the impact of contemporary architectural additions on historic urban environments. See http://www.whc.unesco.org/en/cities.
6. Examples include the United Kingdom’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage, Building in Context: New Development in Historic Areas (2001), available online at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110118095356/ http://www.cabe.org.uk/publications/building-in-context. See also NSW Heritage Office and Royal Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter), Design in Context: Guidelines for Infill Development in the Historic Environment (Sydney: NSW Heritage Office and RAIA NSW, 2005), available online at http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/docs/DesignInContext.pdf.
7. See, for example, NSW Heritage Office and Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Design in Context, which includes these as criteria.

How Municipal Wifi Works

Technology and Networks

Mesh

Most WiFi hot spots in coffee shops and other locations have ahub and spoke configuration. One radio (the hub) sends and receives data for several users (the spokes). The wireless router has a physical connection to the Internet — a wire — and it transmits data from multiple users through that wire.

Adding a wireless router to an existing wired connection is an easy, convenient way to provide wireless access on a small scale. Wireless routers are relatively inexpensive. Most allow people to choose from various sign-on and encryption options, providing a layer of security.

But if a wireless router goes down, there’s not always another router nearby to pick up the slack. And on a large scale, like a whole city, using a physical wire to connect every wireless router to the Internet is expensive.

That’s why most municipal wireless networks use a mesh rather than a hub and spoke. A mesh is a series of radio transmitters. Each transmitter is able to communicate with at least two others. They create a cloud of radio signals through the city. Signals travel from router to router through this cloud.

In some networks, signals hop from one receiver to another until they reach a node that has a wired connection to the Internet. Other networks usebackhaul nodes. These nodes do exactly what their name implies — they gather up all the data from many transmitters and haul it back to the Internet by sending it to a router with a wired connection. Backhaul nodes are usually point-to-point orpoint-to-multipointnodes. They can either connect one point to exactly one other, or they can connect one point to several points.

If you use your laptop to connect to the Internet in a mesh network, here’s what happens:

Some networks use WiMAX transmitters for backhaul.

Photo courtesy Intel

  1. Your computer detects the nearby network, and you sign on.
  2. The protocol that controls the mesh determines the best path for your data to follow. It plans the route that will make the fewest hops before reaching a wired connection or a backhaul node.
  3. Your data follows the path that the protocol sets. When your data reaches a node that has a wired connection, it travels over the Internet until it reaches its final destination.

If you’re out and about in a city with public access, you can probably do this with no extra equipment. But if you’re trying to access the network from home, you may need a stronger radio and possibly a directional antenna. Although signals from the city network are strong enough to make it into your home, the signal from your computer may not be strong enough to make it out again. Most service providers take this into account and provide the necessary equipment for free or for a fee, much like they do with DSL or cable modems.

This system has several advantages over the hubs and spokes of ordinary hot spots. First, since there are fewer wires, it’s less expensive. If a few nodes fail, others in the mesh can compensate for it. In addition to being far less expensive than running high-speed cable to every location in a city, it’s a lot faster to build.

Municipal networks use routers like these mounted on light poles throughout the city.

Photo courtesy Tropos Network

When a city decides to built a wireless network, it generally issues arequest for proposal (RFP). An RFP is simply a request for information from companies that are interested in building the network. While a city could theoretically build its own network, most choose to delegate that part of the process to a company that has experience in Internet and network technology.

Interested businesses respond to the RFP with a proposal that describes a plan for building and maintaining the network. The proposal includes everything from the number and type of radios to the final cost. The physical structure of the network has to take the size and layout of the city, tree cover, landscape and other factors into consideration. The proposal also includes who will end up owning, running and maintaining the network — the city or the business.

In some of the earliest proposed networks, the cities themselves owned and controlled the networks. Businesses like ISPs and telecommunications companies objected to these plans. Their argument was that competition between municipalities and the private sector was unfair or even illegal.

Today, many existing and proposed networks follow one of the following four models:

  • The city owns the network, which is for city use only
  • The city owns the network, which is for city or public use
  • The city owns the network, and ISPs lease access to it, passing that access on to the public
  • A service provider owns and operates the network, providing access to the city, the public and even other service providers

The city reviews all of the RFPs, then decides which proposal to accept. EarthLink, for example, has been selected to build networks in Anaheim, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a finalist in several other cities. EarthLink is also teaming up with Google to build a wireless network in San Francisco.

Exactly what the network ends up looking like depends on a few factors. The first is exactly what a city hopes to do with the network. A city-wide blanket of coverage that’s open to everyone can look very different from a public safety network that will be open only to police officers and firefighters. (See “Wireless Applications” and “Public Safety” to learn more about what these networks can do.)

This Motorola node has radios for 2.4 GHz transmissions as well as 4.9 GHz public safety transmissions.

Photo courtesy Motorola

Different businesses’ proposals can also vary widely depending on the hardware and protocols they use. EarthLink’s projects combine mesh and point-to-multipoint networks. Most of its proposals incorporate radio transmitters on light poles throughout the city, which create the cloud of wireless signals. Radio antennas on tall buildings or towers also communicate to smaller antennas placed throughout the cloud. These point-to-multipoint antennas provide the backhaul, carrying the data from the cloud to the wired Internet.

Almost always, once a city has made a choice about who will build, run and maintain the network, the final step is a pilot program. A pilot program is like a preview or a test run of a smaller version of the network. It’s generally a fraction of the size of the final project, and it lets the city to make sure the network is right for them.  Continue reading using this link>  http://computer.howstuffworks.com/municipal-wifi1.htm