My York Central: Big Ideas

Whether in the exhibition Post It contributions or in the Festival of York Central events there was a almost unanimous call for affordable housing – as well as a questioning of what affordability might mean and call for a York appropriate definition of ‘affordability’. The Big Idea here is how to make homes forever affordable rather than investment opportunities.

Over 3500 post it notes. Over 30 events. Many conversations. All have fed into the My York Central: Big Ideas. To read the ideas in more detail and trace back their orgins in the Flickr archive read the My York Central Vision.

1) Homes for living, not investment: York Central should address York’s housing inequalities, make a mixed community and build homes not holiday lets.

Homes not Holiday Lets. Our HolidayLets tag on the Flickr site.

2) Exploit the benefits of high density: High density should bring walkable access to shops, gyms, culture, entertainment, public transport and incredible roof top views. Identify these benefits collaboratively and design for them.

Easy access to shops, public transport and entertainment were identified as some of the benefits of high density. Views were also identified as a benefit: protect existing views from Holgate and Leeman Road and create new ones.

3) Build in low running costs through high standards: Link low fuel bills and environmental sustainability through high building standards.

Seeing York Central as innovative was seen as crucial. Planning for sustainability was not seen as a luxury. It can help address affordability by bringing living costs down.

4) People, not more cars: Whether people love and rely on their cars or want to see a car free York, there is one shared point of agreement: that York Central cannot add 2500+ more cars to York’s roads. York Central should provide liveable streets and safe neighbourhoods for children to grow up, keep cars to the periphery, plan for quick and reliable public transport and prioritise direct routes for those on foot, bikes and with mobility aids.

The Cars tag on our Flickr site reveals both strong differences in emphasis on whether cars are inevitable part of York life – but the point of agreement was that another 2500+ cars in that part of York is not a good idea.

5) Beyond zoning: Work is changing. Work and life are often no longer zoned into 9am-5pm so why should our cities be? Plan for creative vibrant urban space by mixing up work, living and cultural buildings and spaces.

How can York Cenrtal create thriving urban spaces by mixing up work, social spaces and homes?

6) A community made through exchange: York has enormous wealth, socially, culturally and financially. Use York Central to build a community that can build links between people to address inequalities through sharing and exchange.

7) A hub that catalyses York’s creativity and innovation: Amazing things are happening in York from media, science and technology and heritage. Develop a showcase and learning hub that challenges perceptions and fuels new ideas and networks.

This has been a real emergent theme from the Festival of York Central events. How might a hub catalyse York’s talent and capacities for creativity and innovation?

8) Public spaces that enable people to be collectively creative: Design indoor and outdoor public space and forms of collaborative governance that enable communities to take ownership and to cultivate lots of different activities.

Questions of how we can create public spaces that enable a real variety of activities and community ownership were raised throughout the events.

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