What would a liveable Leeds look like?

The conversation around what makes cities liveable is at the heart of what we do at Planit-IE. We believe that this question isn’t answered by large architectural gestures but by many individuals collaborating together, and we recently had the opportunity to express this through The Liveable City Open Competition: Leeds Eastside, launched by the Leeds Civic Trust.

Our response to the brief, produced in collaboration with Buro Happold, drew upon an EvICA (Evidence Informed Context Aware) approach to create a ‘living manifesto of liveability’. The manifesto is composed of eight themes, considered to be the essential ingredients of a liveable city. Each theme sets out fundamental overarching principles for maximising liveability amongst Leeds inhabitants, before demonstrating how these are expressed at a human scale through a set of site-specific interventions. The manifesto concentrates on demonstrating a commitment to maximising value for local communities and visitors, maximising the positive impact on human health and wellbeing by reducing illness (e.g. reducing air pollution) and promoting wellness (e.g. supporting interaction and play). The introduction of ‘fair city’ and ‘common city’ principles ensure an overarching arc of inclusivity, while ‘zero-waste city’ and ‘compact city’ principles ensure that the associated interventions make best and most efficient use of available resources and space.

Differing somewhat to our usual manner of working, we were able to take The Liveable Leeds Manifesto to another level thanks to further collaboration with Virtual Planit. The final video entry combines traditional pen-and-ink drawings with digital technologies, bringing the ideas to life in a beautiful, unique and characterful way. The illustrations retain their loose, playful charm whilst the addition of animation, sounds and filters enable a rich and compelling story to be told in a way that is engaging and stimulating to multiple senses.

Upon announcing the highly commended position for Buro Happold and Planit-IE, the judged commented that the entry was “thoroughly researched, beautifully written and presented with great aspirations, and a focus on community and inclusivity. The animation and accompanying audio cleverly set out the proposals in a playful and accessible way. As well as delivering infrastructure, this plan sets out a vision for a democratic, participative Leeds with Eastside spaces that work in all seasons.”

This entry was achieved at a particularly challenging time, just as the country began to lockdown in response to the Covid19 crisis. Through numerous Zoom calls, virtual workshops and the creation of an online editable document, the manifesto was compiled through an open, collaborative process of contribution and editing by all members of the team. The result is a constantly evolving resource, written by many hands, which we hope will be just the start of a growing conversation with the people of Leeds.

If you would like to share your ideas on what makes a liveable city or to discuss our entry further, please do get in touch with Helen Buckle or Ben Webb via info@planit-ie.com.

Click here to view The Liveable City: An Animated Manifesto for Leeds
Produced by Planit-IE, Virtual Planit and Buro Happold for the Leeds Civic Trust Liveable City competition.

VDP4208-The Liveable City – A Manifesto for Leeds – Planit-IE