The Regeneration of Knowle West and the role of Public Art in the area is changing.
Over a 20-year period from 2010, the area will see new homes, new community facilities and new transport systems.
Many of these changes will improve the area and the quality of life for people who live here. However change can be disruptive and challenging, it inevitably involves loss as well as gain.
In the twentieth century, the area has been subject to forms of development, which have sought to establish and explore different ways of living on the edge of the city.
This tradition continues with the Knowle West Regeneration Framework, a vision for change in the area for 2010– 30. This vision has not been imposed from above but has been discussed and developed through contemporary forms of participation and consultation.
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The Knowle West Regeneration Framework has placed residents at the centre of the process of planning. An extensive programme of consultation has generated, considered and approved the vision and principles that will underpin the process of change.
This consultation programme has demonstrated the qualities and amenities which current residents believe are important to the creation and maintenance of a positive community. The Knowle West Vision, as developed by local people, is: “A community full of confidence and pride, skilled and healthy, living in a thriving Bristol neighbourhood that is green and well connected and low in living costs.”
The Framework includes 13 objectives that will help to realise this vision; these range from the concrete (e.g. improve and develop primary school provision and refurbish existing housing stock), through to qualitative (e.g. improve health and well-being).
The Public Art Strategy operates within this context, with a particular mandate from the residents’ objective “to improve arts and culture”. Public Art will
contribute across the objectives and has a particular role to play in the following; reinforcing a close-knit neighbourhood, pride of place, building a future proof community, accessing safe, ecologically rich, open space, developing play and youth facilities by planning with local people, and improving health and well-being.
The objectives encapsulate the residents’ aspirations for their neighbourhood and represent a further iteration of a consensus that has been reached in Knowle West in 2010 about how to build a healthy community, solve the problems that exist, and capitalise on the existing strengths of Knowle West.