Bridging, Bonding, Byker- An attempt of regenerating a socially deprived neighbourhood on the principles of “urban villages”.

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Submission Summary
"Urban-Villages" are the oldest surviving concept of a self-sustainable neighbourhood where smaller settlements of varied density and mixed land-uses are focused, social and physical infrastructure are provided within reach and local businesses are encouraged. Such urban-gentrification practices have led to a revival of many socio-economically weaker areas into a "thriving neighbourhood", keeping in mind that all the three pillars of sustainable development - social, economic, and environmental are met. One such area is BYKER ward of Newcastle upon Tyne where our academic research was focused, in suggesting regeneration ideas for uplifting the wards, wherein the most prominent issues were "neglected-aging population”, unemployed young professionals, a large number of betting shops and roughly living ex-convicts/offenders residing in the neighbourhood, increasing the crime and making Byker as one of the most deprived wards of the northeast of England, by the Newcastle city council by far many years now. The ward boundary which spreads across approximately 2.99 sq.kms, has a mix of housing, high street, industrial pockets, and a greyhound stadium constructed in the late 20th-century slum clearance and regeneration programs by the city council. The Byker we see today has about 2000 housing dwellings made in the late 1970s on a sprawling 200 acre. In order to make the ward more liveable after the de-industrialization of the shipping industry from River Tyne, the beautification drive of the ward led to the haphazard construction of various dwellings of similar architectural styles. It replaced the serried rows of Tyneside flats with social group housing, also famously known as the Byker wall. Byker consists of nearly 5835 households with a total population of 12,206 as per the 2011 ward census data. The demographic distribution of Byker makes it a vulnerable ward that needs special care and attention. Byker ward consists of 25% of the old-age population (+65 years and above) having at least one long term disability which disturbs their daily life. There is a greater number of single parents present in the ward which is much greater than the national average along with the highest unemployment factor. The housing ownership is relatively low and the ward is famous for its rough lifestyle and crime rate in the northeastern region. Many ex-convicts, ex-prisoners, and defaulters live in the Byker ward, making it a socially exclusive area. The high street of the ward, known as shields road, has been promoting low scale businesses like hairdressing, furniture as well as grey business areas like betting shops, casinos, bars and pubs. In this study, a 20-year long term plan holds a bright socio-economic vision for the Byker ward, as it tends to intervene in the problematic areas as a priority and believes to find success as a ripple effect in the underlying issues. The vision for Byker is set to make it a self-sufficient “Urban Village” where the ward caters to its specific and future projected demographic profile, keeping in mind the vulnerable groups, their social and economic needs. This urban village seeks an economic boost in the high street area, strong security of housing ownership and other tenure choices, a social welfare perspective through leisure infrastructure and an environmental up-gradation that focuses on sustainability. These visions have been broadly classified into these objectives: LEISURE, LEARN, LIVE, CONNECT, and vision to fulfill the aim of “BRIDGING-BONDING-BYKER”.
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Submission Type
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6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
Newcastle University
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