Townscape transformations in dockland areas: case studies in the UK

Horn, Julie Catherine (1993). Townscape transformations in dockland areas: case studies in the UK. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (25MB) | Preview


The dockland redevelopment phenomenon, which first occurred in North America over twenty years ago, has become a significant aspect of urban change. Extensive redevelopment of decaying and moribund dockland sites first began in Britain during the 1970s, continued throughout the 'property boom' years of the 1980s and is still occurring - albeit at a much reduced rate - in the 1990s. However, while extensive research has been carried out on the social and economic aspects of dockland rejuvenation, very little is known about the physical or townscape aspects of this process. The present study addresses this gap in research.
The processes of recent townscape change are examined in three dockland areas - London, Cardiff and Bristol. In two of these areas redevelopment was initiated either partly or wholly by Urban Development Corporations, and in the third, redevelopment was initiated by a City Planning Authority.
First, there is an analysis of the roles of those who are responsible for creating the built environment, such as developers, architects, planning authorities, Urban Development Corporations and residents of dockland developments. Secondly, there is a dicussion of how the decisions taken by these 'agents of townscape change' affect the physical forms that have resulted in docklands. Thirdly, the views of dockland residents on the cultural and symbolic significance of dockland townscapes are examined.
The principal data sources are the Development Control records held by Cardiff and Bristol City Planning Authorities, semi-structured interviews conducted with Urban Development Corporations, developers and architects, and extensive fieldwork. These data are supplemented by a questionnaire survey of dockland residents.
The main conclusion of the thesis is threefold. First, it is evident that Urban Development Corporations differ from planning authorities in their approaches to development control and design control. For example, whereas the London Docklands Development Corporation has an extremely flexible, Iaissez faire, approach to planning, Bristol CPA has adopted a far more through-going, interventionist approach. A second conclusion is that developers are primarily concerned with 'profit-maximisation', and if they consider design at all, it is of little overall importance. Developers of dockland sites are without exception national companies who employ 'external' rather than 'in-house' architects. Thirdly, it is evident that residents of docklands generally like both the architectural appearance of the developments in which they live, and in particular the layout and design of waterfront areas. In spite of this, many have difficulty in understanding the more deeply-rooted symbolic or semiotic meanings that are conveyed by some Post-Modern buildings.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of Geography
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year