The Life-Sized City screenings

York Central represents a big change for York – but we’re not alone; other cities are changing too and they can bring to us ideas on how we shape our new piece of city around the people who will live, work and play there.

The Life-Sized City is a ground-breaking documentary series that explores the anatomy and vibrancy of the modern city, highlighting pockets of life-sized goodness in cities around the world. Hosted by the boldly outspoken and charismatic Mikael Colville-Andersen, often referred to as the Anthony Bourdain of urban development, the series reveals inspiring stories from everyday citizens yearning for change and urban renewal. Each episode focuses on one city and on what makes it livable for its residents.

Mikael gives a voice to those who go above and beyond stereotypes and who dare to make a difference, from ordinary citizens to urban activists and political leaders. He is at the helm of intriguing and creative encounters with those who make up the social fabric that redefines city life, talking about public space, transport, family life, urban sprawl, bikeability and green initiatives – all on a human scale. Interacting with true urban heroes, he gets dirt under his fingernails and puts theory to practice as he takes part in surprising urban innovations.

Join us in the York Central Exhibiton space at the National Railway Museum. Drop in, no need to book.

MEDELLIN
Sunday 25th March 1pm – 2pm (and join us for our ‘Pulling Together the Conversations’ workshop, 2-4pm)

PARIS
Monday 2nd April 1pm – 2pm (and join us for our ‘Pulling Together the Conversations’ workshop, 2-4pm)

BANGKOK
Wednesday 5th April 2pm – 3pm

TEL AVIV
Sunday 8th April 1pm – 2pm (and join us for our ‘Pulling Together the Conversations’ workshop, 2-4pm)

TOKYO
Sunday 15th April 1pm – 2pm (and join us for our ‘Pulling Together the Conversations’ workshop, 2-4pm)

The Secret Life of York’s Public Spaces

A busy St Helen’s Square: What can we learn from seeing places we know well from lots of different perspectives?

24th March, 6.30-8.30pm
Cycle Heaven, Hospital Fields
Book your free place

How can we learn from the spaces we know well to develop brilliant public space in York Central and Castle Gateway?

We often don’t really notice why a public space works, we just know if we like being there. Good public space has to somehow balance being welcoming when you want to linger, with being easy to navigate when you’re on the move. How can we achieve this with new urban public spaces in Castle Gateway and York Central?

We’ll bring to this event lessons from York’s existing public spaces. Earlier in the day we’ll do a walk with a group of people with different perspectives on public space to do some collective analysis. Having experienced York’s public spaces together – the good and the not-so-good – the group will prepare ideas and questions and will lead the evening workshop. We will consider the needs of the young and old, those who want to walk carefully, amble and watch the world go by as well as those who want to pass through our public spaces as quickly as possible.

We’ll then look at the new public spaces which will be created in both York Central and Castle Gateway. We will work together to set some principles – captured in a draft manifesto which we’ll open up for more comment throughout the Festival of York Central – which can be used to shape dynamic and inclusive public space. This is your chance to explore the big challenges of designing new areas of the city and to help shape its new public realm.

Welcoming Streets Reimagined to York Central

A busy Coney Street in the 1970s. Image by Trevor Jones. Thanks to York Explore Libraries and Archives.

We delighted to have been able to invite Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined to York to help us explore York Central and Picadilly, part of the Castle Gateway project.

York Central: Streets Reimagined Walks
21st March, 1-4pm
The Winning Post, Bishopthorpe Raod
Book your free place

Join Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined to explore some of York’s most and least successful streets. We will work with Finlay – drawing on his experience of developing thriving streets in other cities – to analyze and understand what make streets work. We will use observation and ethnographic techniques to develop new perspectives on how people use and interact with urban spaces, and in turn, how this can inform the design of successful urban places. We will ask: How can you combine homes, work and social spaces? What makes streets feel safe at all times of day? What enables children to play outside? We will co-produce a range of materials that will then feed into an evening event – with a bigger group – at the National Railway Museum. You are welcome to attend both workshps but you can just come for the afternoon workshop if that suits you.

York Central: Streets Reimagined
7-9pm, National Railway Museum (West Enternace not the main enterance)
Book your free place

How might streets in York Central be designed around people, sociability and play? Drawing on extensive experience of developing living and livable streets Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined will help us build on an analysis of streets we know well in York – their strengths and weaknesses – and help us all imagine the streets of York Central. As well as highlighting an array of examples from around the world to inspire and challenge, this interactive session will invite participants to explore what makes a street or a neighbourhood more liveable. There will also be an opportunity for participants to get involved, to debate and to get creative. We will end the workshop by developing a York Central: Manifesto for Streets to be shared in the National Railway Museum as part of Festival for York Central for further ideas, debates and conversation.

Green Space and York Central: Look At Your City walk

West Bank Park Gates. Image with thanks to Katherine Blaker.

Green Space and York Central: Look At Your City walk
Monday 19th March
4:30pm at the West Bank Park gates on Acomb Road
5:30pm at Holgate Community Garden
By 7pm at Leeman Rose Pub for reflections, discussions and, well, a drink
Book your free place

Proposals for York Central include the principle of plenty of open space – a “Great Park” maybe – but what sort of open spaces work best, are most loved and adopted by surrounding communities, and most used by those who live and work nearby? How can we learn lessons from what’s already there which can help shape what gets created in York Central?

We’ll be doing a guided walk on Monday 19th March, starting at 4:30pm at the West Bank Park gates on Acomb Road. We’ll visit a variety of spaces and places and will pass through Holgate Community Garden at 5:30 (join us there if you want/need a shorter walk) before heading onwards via further open spaces to The Leeman Rose where we can talk, gather and record our thoughts – and get a drink! Please join us and bring your ideas and questions, your local knowledge and creativity. And warm/dry clothing as dictated by weather on the day, of course.

These will be – literally – the first steps through our Festival of York Central – keep an eye on our Events page at and if you want to see what questions an comments are coming in already about York Central green space – take a look at our Flickr site at and just click on a tag to see what people are saying. You can join the discussion on social media using #MYCQuestions too!

The Festival of York Central

The Festival of York Central – coming soon!

This is a festival with a difference. The Festival of York Central will be a celebration of people power, of being part of shaping your city, of being part of something big. There will be walks, workshops and videos (and you may find yourself starring in some of them!). There will be questions and some answers. There will be lots of discussions and debate. There will sometimes be food and pubs. And there will almost always be Post-Its. There will be many, many Post-Its (and every one will count).

The York Central Exhibiton is based at the National Railway Museum from 21st March until 27th April. The exhibiton will remain the same throughout except for the many post-it note contributions people are making annotating the boards with their questions, views and ideas.

Alongside the exhibiton we’re running lots of events. Based at the National Railway Museum but reaching out into York Central, the neighbouring communities and the rest of the city, we will be working with the masterplanners Allies & Morrison and York Central Partnership to use the current thinking behind emerging masterplan ideas as a springboard to develop richer and deeper thinking about York Central.

We’ve looked at the questions which are already coming in, and have shaped the first four weeks events around the biggest broad themes:-

Public space in York Central: Week 1 – 19th March – 25th March
Living in York Central: Week 2 – March 26th – 1st April
Working in York Central: Week 3 – 2nd April – 8th April
Moving around (and beyond) York Central: Week 4 – 9th April – 15th April

We’re in the process of setting up activities and events, which will appear on our Events page here, but we want your ideas too. What ideas would you like to kick around, and how? What would you want to be part of, and what would bring in your neighbours and friends? Ideas to myyorkcentral@gmail.com. In the meantime we’ll be busy filling up the diary, so keep checking back to see what’s new and look out for news on Twitter and Facebook (and say hello to us there too).