A ‘cultural spine’ of pedestrianised public spaces, artistic street frontages, and cutting-edge street lighting stretching from Farringdon to Finsbury Square was revealed this week as part of a ‘look and feel’ strategy for the new Culture Mile.
The City Corporation released the strategy for public consultation on 22 November, offering a first look at initial plans for the area developed by creative agency Fluid along with the Barbican, Guildhall School, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Museum of London over the last year.
The 100-page document details a cultural ‘spine’ beginning at Farringdon Station and moving east along West Smithfield past the new museum site and through Beech Street tunnel, which will have traffic reduced to westbound lanes only with a widened footpath and art installations.
It also outlines opportunities to ‘externalise’ cultural activities at the Barbican, Museum of London, Guildhall School and LSO with a combination of creative events and technology which will turn blank walls into canvases for public art.
A key criticism of the area is that institutions like the Barbican Centre are ‘locked away’ and not easily accessible.
“If you’ve walked through some parts of this area at the weekend, you will realise that it is not throbbing and bustling… we want to change that,” Museum of London director Sharon Arment said at the Culture Mile launch back in May.
The look and feel strategy sets out plans for better signage and wayfinding, public information, lighting, greening, and measures to improve air quality, and is open for public consultation until early February.
Carolyn Dwyer, director of built environment at the Corporation, said:
“Following the 11-week consultation period, the strategy will be finalised and we will outline the next steps. This is a very exciting moment, essentially, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regenerate the area and create a world-leading cultural and creative destination.”