Our initial analysis of Burnley was based on a critique of the current 'Levelling Up' policy, drawing on the book “Take Back Economy” by Gibson Graham. Many communities and stakeholders, such as the self-employed or NGO's, did not receive any government support. As a result, our projects aimed to 'turn over the iceberg' to allow all walks of life to take back their economy. To achieve this objective, I proposed to return the River Brun to its central position in Burnley's life in order to: improve local identity; enhance health and well-being; and boost the economy.
My design strategy proposes a green footway-cycleway along the River Brun, improving access to the river but also the health and well-being of local people. The river today is highly canalised and the isolated spaces along its banks are little used due to their poor connectivity and walkability. My strategy proposes a linear route along the river connecting a diverse series of spaces, acting as an ecological as well as social conduit for the town. A strong visual identity will connect them and provide an incentive for people to use them.
The culmination of the routewill be a new public plaza on the site of the existing Pioneer Carpark where the river is brought back into the daylight and the tarmac desert is reimagined as a space of leisure, culture and economic activity for locals and tourists. 5 zones are identified: Weekend Market/Welcome Plaza for UCLAN, Performance Amphitheatre, River Experience, integrated car park and Native Planting Garden. The identity of locals can be promoted by appreciating the forgotten river legacy, boosting tourism and prosperity.