At the start of the design research, I was looking on a much broader scale, and I was looking at the Kirkcaldy town maps from records and also referring to current maps of the town. The town has evolved from its origins as a harbour port and from its Fife Mining Heritage. Although mining has ceased to be a productive industry, linoleum is still produced in the town and both these elements. Through time the post industrial development of the town has been quite fragmented and the elements of history have lost emphasis.
Referring to older maps of the town centre and with recent developments in the retailing heart of the town, it is clear that something has been lost in the characteristic appearance of the urban and civic centre.
Historical references do exist within the town centre in different areas, but they have been bypassed by other factors such as economic development and the expansion of out of town retail developments in competition with the original town centre. Kirkcaldy is actually fighting against itself. The car is prime in this town. Buses and taxis are also major transport factors and the impact on the town is that there is constant movement in and out of the town.
As Kirkcaldy is ideally placed as a commuter hub for Edinburgh and Dundee, the railway system is also a major transport element and Kirkcaldy is a mainline station on the East Coast Railway network. A train can take passengers to London in approximately 5 hours.
QUESTION : Could Kirkcaldy Town Centre become a car free zone and could the bicycle become a sustainable alternative to the predominance of the car, which has major traffic effects at peak times on the periphery junctions around the town?
Car parking accommodation is a huge factor in trying to attract visitors , tourists and shoppers to the town, and the current wayfinding signage is based on this need to bring people and customers into the town. This approach has been to the detriment of the town’s appearance and functionality.
QUESTION : How can WAYFINDING SOLUTIONS or bring new benefits to the economic, civic and cultural centre of Kirkcaldy and how can it assist its residents, businesses and tourists and visitors to make it a more attractive and interesting place to live and work ?
I think there is a need to integrate and develop a holistic approach to the regeneration of the civic centre , which will involve a wide range of stakeholders, and a variety of different, but complementary solutions to enhance and develop the town centre as a place to be.
I have a meeting with Joan Geddes from Fife Council, to discuss my project and to obtain information and hopefully, an endorsement that my project is of value to the town development.