#4: Creative Cardiff @ the Cardiff Convention

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Posted by: Ian Hargreaves

Date: 9 November 2015


A ‘liveable city’ is a creative city

Creative Cardiff was recently given the chance to run a workshop at this year’s Cardiff Convention, an annual gathering organised by Cardiff Council. The event brings together an invited group to discuss how Cardiff is developing and changing and aims to provoke debate and thinking about its future. We were asked to talk about the work we’ve done to try to map the city’s creative economy and to build this network.

The event was centred on the launch of a new report staking Cardiff’s claim to be a top ‘Liveable City’. It makes for an interesting read, highlighting Cardiff’s rate of population growth (the UK’s highest) as well as very positive numbers on issues like crime, sustainability and life expectancy. One striking statistic is that Cardiff has a projected population growth of 26% between 2013 and 2034 – an additional 91,500. This obviously presents challenges for the council and others, but it also presents opportunities to change the way the city looks, feels and works.

We also heard from a bunch of really interesting experts. We particularly liked Allison Dutoit from Gehl Architects, which is based in bike-crazy Copenhagen. She spoke about how her practice’s work was much more about people and ‘the life in between buildings’ than master plans and big buildings. Allison put a big emphasis on finding out what people really think. “Get the data; measure what matters; communicate well; and make a process not a masterplan” was how she summarised her approach. We also had the soaraway success story of Austin, Texas  and a refreshing blast from a Belfast-based Australian, Liam Lynch of Square Pit, an ‘urban disruptor’ who has made some pretty remarkable things happen. 

Creative Cardiff got a warm welcome at our workshop, where we were joined by planners, architects, transport officials, investors and people from the construction world. A common thread through the day was the importance of listening well and in detail to people; to gathering and making good use of data and taking the time to get detail right. We think both the city and our network have a lot to learn from people like Allison and Liam who start by understanding what matters and then encourage people to work together to make it happen.

To read the full Liveable City Report click the attachment below.