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Northbank

Vision for the Northbank and Public Realm Strategy

Northbank

Vision for the Northbank and Public Realm Strategy

The Northbank – an area stretching between Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, the Thames, and Aldwych – is a district on the cusp of significant change. Several new developments are proposed that have the potential to radically redefine the setting, uses and perceptions of this part of London. They include a number of major infrastructure projects, such as the removal of the Aldwych gyratory, TfL’s east–west Cycle Superhighway, the proposed Garden Bridge, and changes to the riverbank as part of Thames Tideway Tunnel works. Alongside these, there are many large-scale development sites across the district, such as Arundel Great Court, and the LSE and King’s College masterplans. These will considerably change the character of specific areas within the Northbank. Altogether, these various projects will create a significant change to the district, and if all are delivered, provide the most significant transformation since the innovations of the Victorians, when the area was reinvented by the momentous construction of Bazalgette’s Embankment and the building of Aldwych.

Publica was commissioned by The Northbank BID to create a holistic Public Realm Vision and Strategy for the Northbank district, building upon a detailed, first-stage public realm study that investigated its layered history and varied character areas, and identified issues, opportunities and sites of latent potential.

The vision and strategy consider how the public life of the district could be reinvented and the area’s identity in the West End redefined. It suggests opportunities for integrating and programming key spaces for creative, cultural and intellectual exchange, and celebrating the urban promenade of spectacle and display through the key routes of the district. This report culminates in a series of 40 considered, strategic interventions for five key geographic locations across the district. These include large-scale projects at the Aldwych gyratory and the Victoria Embankment River Promenade, smaller scale works upgrading alleys, lanes and courts, as well 
as improvements to key routes through the district at Strand, Arundel Street and Villiers Street.

To read Publica's vision and strategy, and the inital area survey, please visit The Northbank BID website.

  • Title: Northbank Public Realm Vision and Strategy
  • Location: City of Westminster, London
  • Year: 2014–2015
  • Client: The Northbank BID