How the Open Brief was created and Structure of the Open Brief

Map of the key areas covered by the Open Brief

Ideas for the new public spaces have come from families playing in parks across York, from people having lunch at Red Tower, from walks on every topic from heritage to landscaping and ecology, from young people’s interpretations of the area through art and dance, from people who run businesses and those who organise arts and community events as well as conversations with cyclists, people who use wheelchairs, people who push buggies and people who are blind or partially sighted.

Events, discussions and meetings of different kinds were developed around a series of key themes generated by the first phase of My Castle Gateway:

  • Gathering Playfully: we generated discussion around play through spending time in different parks around York including the Designer Outlet and Rowntree Park.
  • Gathering Green: we walked the area with landscape architects and pondered the trees and planting in our public spaces.
  • Gathering with Water: we looked at the connections to the Foss and the Ouse but also how water brings to life public spaces.
  • Gathering with Heritage: we were led down to the Debtors’ Prison cells to look at graffiti left by people about to be transported and taken behind the scenes at the York Castle Museum to handle their amazing collections.
  • Gathering Together: we walked to look at our city and how public spaces work at different times, and we met and discussed memorials and their place in our city
  • Gathering on the Move: we have cycled around York with people who use bikes for wider mobility, reflected on long term work with MySight on these issues and debated how this affects the design of shared space.

We have also used social media (Twitter and Facebook) to share old photos and new ideas to generate discussion.

All the events and social media conversations have been documented on our Flickr site, and all the Post-Its and screenshots have been tagged. This allows us to highlight the emerging issues (for example – want to see what people are saying about trees? Go here, click on treescastlegateway). This tagging process has enabled us to identify key themes and open them up for discussion in public and to inform the development of the Open Brief.

Structure of the Open Brief

The Castle and Eye of York Open Brief covers the Castle Car Park, the Eye of York and the area around Clifford’s Tower.

The structure of the brief includes key themes which need to be considered across the whole area, and a focus on specific spaces within the area. We’ve called these specific spaces: Castle Car Park; Eye of York and Clifford’s Tower Area. While they are distinct zones, it is important they are designed as one space.

The Open Brief evokes what people want to do and also sets out the design challenges. A key overall design challenge will be to do the development in phases given the need to link in with the York Castle Museum transformation proposals, while maintaining a unified design approach.

The brief is structure in the following way:

  • Movement
  • Flexibility of Use
  • Activity
  • Heritage
  • Landscape, Ecology and Trees
  • Play and Playfulness
  • Castle Car Park
  • Eye of York
  • The Clifford’s Tower Area