York Art Gallery - Project Brief
The Economic Development Unit, on behalf of the First Stop York Tourism Partnership, has succeeded in a bid to Yorkshire Forward for funding for a major project using light to reveal York’s unique heritage assets after dark -- and to make the city centre safer and more attractive at night.
What is York: Light?
York:Light is a comprehensive, ten-year plan for state-of-the-art lighting of the city’s major buildings and heritage sites, streets, parks, open spaces and riverside walks. It has been developed by the consultants, Urban Lighting Group, through extensive research of the city’s lighting needs – and local consultations with stake-holders and other interested bodies.
York:Light has the major aim of making the city safer and more attractive, while presenting its historic and architectural assets in their best light. The commissioning of York:Light, and the first two years’ programme of lighting works were made possible by a funding bid to Yorkshire Forward from the Economic Development Unit.
When Will York:Light Happen?
The York:Light project will happen in two stages:
• Firstly, there is an intensive two-year implementation programme of innovative and creative lighting projects within the city core, from April 2004 until March 2006, which will transform an evening visitor’s experience of York.
• Secondly, there is a 10-year Masterplan, extending until 2014, which will guide longer-term investment in all aspects of lighting in a carefully conceived, cost-effective way. In addition the Masterplan will also propose a series of modern lighting installations and lighting-related events.
The visibility of the first phase of lighting projects will undoubtedly create an increased public profile for York:Light -- and will help to draw in additional public and private funding for future years.
Why Has the EDU Commissioned York:Light?
York’s historical and architectural heritage is undoubtedly world class. Over four million leisure and business visitors come to the city each year and make a major contribution to the regional economy. However, there are two major factors that underlie the need for the York:Light plan:
• Visitors’ tastes and expectations are changing and there is keen competition from other UK and European destinations. As a result, York needs to take positive action to enhance the visitor's experience of the city, if it is to retain and increase market share.
• At the same time, the night-time ambience of York’s streets and after-dark presentation of its historic sites falls well below that of comparable cities across Europe.
Lighting has a proven track record in marketing major cities – and improving their image. As can be seen here, many of our competitor cities, such as Lyon, Barcelona, Helsink abroad and Coventry and Edinburgh here in the UK, have successfully used well-designed lighting to enhance their visitor offer – and to create new tourist attractions. York must do the same.
The York:Light plan is a sound investment in our City’s future. It will help to enrich the presentation of our unique heritage, provide a new tourism ‘product’ – and boost the after-dark safety, prosperity and attractiveness of the city, for visitors and residents alike.
What are the Main Benefits?
The potential future benefits of York:Light for the city’s residents and visitors, are numerous:
• Jobs: In particular, the plan, and its ongoing implementation, will help to stimulate the city’s Tourism business, Heritage Industry and Creative Arts sector.
• Safety: Improved lighting, resulting from the plan, will improve safety, security and visual comfort within the city for residents and visitors. Research from Hull, Cardiff and Manchester show that improved urban lighting increases pedestrian numbers, leading to more ‘informal surveillance’ of criminals and wrong-doers, which in turn acts as a strong anti-crime deterrent.
• Studies in Dudley, Stoke-on-Trent and Tameside demonstrate that investment in lighting is more effective and more economical than with other crime reduction measures such as CCTV.
• Evening Economy: York:Light will also improve the user experience of the city centre after dark – which in turn will boost the ‘evening economy’.
• Showcasing our heritage assets: York:Light will vastly improve the visibility and attractiveness of the city’s unique heritage assets. The plan will also enhance, and protect, the city’s wonderful night-time vistas and distant views.
Which Lighting Projects are Proposed?
April 2004 to March 2006
York:Light proposes re-lighting key buildings and structures in three main areas: the city’s Historic Core, around Bootham Bar/ Exhibition Square and along the River Ouse linked by improved lighting along Castlegate, Fossgate, the Shambles and Petergate in order to create, through lighting, a new walking trail through York in the evening (the ‘York Lighting Experience Walk’). In addition to the route described above we propose to light Micklegate Bar to create a more attractive gateway to the City and by doing so we will deter anti-social behaviour, improve safety and the perception of safety.
Specific lighting projects include:
• Bootham Bar, King’s Manor, the De Grey Rooms and York Art Gallery.
• The Gate House, Museum Gardens.
• Lendal Bridge, the Guildhall and Ouse Bridge
• Fairfax House, the Mason’s House, St. Mary’s Castlegate and Clifford’s Tower
• Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, Foss Bridge and Fossgate.
• All Saint’s, Pavement
• The Shambles and Low Petergate
• The Minster Towers (from East and South)
• Micklegate Bar