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Covent Garden

Public Realm Strategy

Covent Garden

Public Realm Strategy


Covent Garden is a renowned cultural, retail, tourist and nightlife destination with a strong and recognisable identity. In its patterns of use it is almost a microcosm of the West End, with theatres, cultural destinations, a wide range of shops, businesses and residential uses all found within the district. As a destination of international standing its streets and spaces are intensively used throughout the day and the week. With few public open spaces in the wider area, the streets themselves accommodate a great deal of activity and life. This said, the area also has its own distinctive changing pace and is equally characterised by a charming network of quieter back streets, passages and courts.

Publica was commissioned by Capital & Counties, the area’s principal land owner, to develop a public realm strategy for Kings Court and Carriage Hall, key development sites at the heart of the district. These were informed by an early stage wider area survey of the whole Covent Garden neighbourhood.

The strategy sought to integrate with, build upon and celebrate the area’s distinctive built and cultural heritage, proposing a series of public routes and spaces to enhance the strong identity of Covent Garden and add to life and enjoyment of the area. Research included detailed studies into the scale, character and materials across the area’s network of pedestrian routes, historic passages and courtyards, as well as a number of comparable case studies and precedents.

Throughout the project, Publica worked in close collaboration with architects Kohn Pedersen Fox and the wider masterplanning team, developing public realm principles to help guide, test and inform emerging designs and ensure the integration of the scheme’s routes and spaces with their wider context. Publica’s work informed the preparation of the Design and Access Statement and was additionally submitted to Westminster City Council as a stand-alone part of the planning application. The scheme was approved by committee in December 2013.

  • Title: Covent Garden Public Realm Strategy
  • Location: City of Westminster, London
  • Year: 2012-2013
  • Client: Capital & Counties Covent Garden