Birmingham is ranked the third best retail centre in the UK and has a fantastic retail offer defined by some very successful shopping centres. However, the connecting streets have struggled to keep pace resulting in an unsatisfactory shopping experience which lacks the quality required of an international city. The aim of the Retail Birmingham Design Strategy is to reinforce the street hierarchy, improve legibility and connectivity for pedestrians and create character areas and distinctive streets which offer a spectacular shopping environment where different retail types can flourish.
Following extensive public consultation, Make has created a simple strategy hinging around the two primary streets that pass though the city centre from north to south and east to west. Strengthening these streets will encourage a hierarchy of other routes to develop organically, improving connectivity on a wider scale and ultimately forming a ‘figure of eight’ pedestrianised circuit from which character areas can naturally emerge.
The strategy defines the principles for these key character areas, identifying the existing qualities and connections of each street and enhancing them using simple design features such as improved lighting, paving, street furniture and public art.