This module has given me the opportunity to develop research thinking on what my Design Research Project will focus on.
As I had a very open remit at the beginning for TRANSITIONAL PORTALS in URBAN ENVIRONMENTS, I have now had to think about a more specific approach in order to make my project realistic and meaningful. I needed to develop a much more detailed investigation into how I could integrate with the wide range of STAKEHOLDER GROUPS.
I spent a bit of time looking at Kirkcaldy from the perspective of a new visitor to the town. I drove into the town from different directions to assess how directional signage worked and how road traffic operated in conjunction with the signs.
I recorded video clips from the car as I drove to enable me to review the condition and design of the signage wayfinding and discovered a series of gaps in the links between junctions etc. In some cases there was a lack of clarity which I felt would confuse visitors who were attempting to come to Kirkcaldy.
FIFE COUNCIL REGENERATION ENVIRONMENT PROJECTS TEAM
I contacted the department at Fife Council who are involved in a variety of environmental improvements and regeneration initiatives within Kirkcaldy. In discussion via e-mail and telephone conversations with a few individuals, it became clear that there were distinct areas of potential development that I was sure my design research thinking could become involved in.
SIGNAGE and WAYFINDING was one element that Fife Council had been developing but that it was currently on hold due to budget restrictions and that there was a current initiative for a Business Improvement District ( BID ). One of the elements of this BID was to look at new street furniture and signage solutions.
I created a Powerpoint presentation about my thoughts on Kirkcaldy which included case study images from a variety of different towns and cities as a prompt for discussion with stakeholders. I made an informal presentation to Gill Baldwin from the Fife Council Regeneration Team at Kirkcaldy Town House on Thursday 1 April 2010.
The presentation was well received and feedback during a discussion afterwards highlighted a few possibilities for potential of my involvement in Working Group Forums on the future development of the town esplanade and promenade. I was also given contact names of other relevant contacts within Fife Council related to the BID project.
Unfortunately, to date, no further contacts have been able to meet with me to discuss how I can get involved. I will now have to e-mail the contacts to establish a more productive relationship with them. Without these contacts, my Design Research Project will not come to fruition.
CASE STUDY RESEARCH
Following the meeting with the Regeneration Environment contact, I did some investigation into other coastal towns in the UK who were developing regeneration projects and discovered 2 towns who were also in TRANSITION.
CLACTON-ON SEA in Suffolk
RHYL in Wales
Both these towns have seafronts and esplanade /promenades and there are links in this page regarding their developments.
OTHER RESEARCH STUDIES
I have in the past been to a variety of towns and cities that have made improvements to the ambience and enhancements of their urban context.
BIRMINGHAM is a good example of re-capturing the cityscape for the population
GREENOCK has a RIVER INVERCLYDE INITIATIVE
BORDEAUX in FRANCE has a fantastic interactive social space on its riverfront which is used for all kinds of events and it is a promenade with a high standard of installations such as lighting, and surface finishes.
KIRKCALDY TOWN CENTRE MANAGEMENT
This organisation are part of the local authority and are really the major STAKEHOLDER for my Research project.
However, at present, they are heavily involved with 2 major developments.
1 BID PROJECT – Business Improvement District
2 MERCAT SHOPPING CENTRE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL
The new proposals for a major expansion and enhancement of the main shopping mall in Kirkcaldy is currently in for PLANNING APPROVAL, but there are no guarantees that this most up to date scheme design by ONE ARCHIECTURE and the developer will gain the necessary approvals to proceed.
However, these proposed developments may have a major impact on what i am developing for my MDes studies.
This is the most up to date post on my current position with my studies.