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Reconstructing the old city the way it was?

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flapdoodle
Coventry
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1 of 4  Sun 17th Mar 2013 11:18pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:889

I didn't used to think like this. I used to think that the 'old' city had gone, and that was it, and we should move forward. However, I am changing my mind. They 'moved forward' after the blitz and built a 'city of the future' that is now derided as being an representation of the past. Meanwhile, other cities that were also going to be comprehensively destroyed like Coventry survived and are now thriving (such as Bristol). I recently visited a city in Germany that was destroyed by the allies. It was 1/4 the size of Coventry and the mediaeval centre and cathedrals and churches were totally flattened. The cathedrals were rebuilt in the 1950s. In the 1980s the concrete of the marketplace was demolished and replicas of the mediaeval centre built. Even as recent as 2007 they were still reconstructing the old city. Outside the old core, it's a decent city of proper streets and intersections all at ground level. Could the same be done here? Not all of it, but Broadgate/Hertford Street/Trinity Street/Burges restored back to their pre-war layout, and the Gosford Street, High Street, Smithford Street, Spon Street route reconstructed with all the gap sites built up and the Cathedral Quarter linked up with Broadgate as real 'lanes'. I'd probably even reconstruct the old library that was demolished when I first came here. I wouldn't go as far as to rebuild things like Ironmonger Row. I wouldn't attempt to reconstruct everything, but just try to bring back that feeling of a city made up of proper streets (even if they are pedestrianised.) and try to reflect on the styles and character that existed. At the same time, I'd also like to see some of the post-war buildings that have a bit of style preserved or looked after better - as not all of it was rubbish. Something like the Coventry Telegraph building is a nice product of the time. Are we flogging a dead horse by continuing to throw money at something that has... well, failed? I'm beginning to think we are (and believe me, I'm a big fan of modern architecture.)
Reconstructing the old city the way it was?
woodford
coventry
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2 of 4  Mon 18th Mar 2013 9:17am  
Member: Joined Feb 2013  Total posts:171

I really liked the layout of the Precinct as it was originally. I don't think we can return to the original layout pre war, but I do wish we could stop this 'tacking things on' mentality. Such things as the escalator in the Upper Precinct, the obstruction of the view to the cathedral and the loss of shops on the upper levels of the precincts has ruined things as far as I'm concerned. It would have been better to spend money on the original layout and have made it sparkling again-as you say, Flapdoodle, the post war buildings need better treatment. But, the with the way the Council has 'managed' the traffic scheme over the past few years, could you really see them sorting out the centre in any 'joined up' way?!! Wave Roll eyes
Reconstructing the old city the way it was?
Steve Morley
Dunstable
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3 of 4  Mon 18th Mar 2013 10:53am  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:9

It was always said that the City Council did more damage to the city than Hitler's bombers ever did! As for rebuilding the city as it was, I would recommend that the council should have looked at Ypres in Belgium and Caen in Northern France. Both were reduced to rubble in successive world wars, but rebuilt to look as they were pre-war. Modern plumbing was incorporated into the rebuilds and a holistic approach to traffic management adopted. But the Coventry was meant to be "modern" and "up to date", in which case, all those 1960's building will have to be pulled down and rebuilt sooner rather than later, although I can't see that happening any day now. The original ring road was a disaster with entrances and exits too close together, and it isolated the city centre from the rest of the city. It still does and I can see no hope of that being altered soon. No, successive councils have made a mess of the city centre, reduced its tourism value immensely and residents will just have to put up with it, or alter the council's collective attitude to redevelopment although I can't see that happening either! I'm sorry about the rant, but if you take the parochial blinkers off, there were/are better solutions to Coventry's redevelopment than we have at the moment.
Reconstructing the old city the way it was?
AD
Allesley Park
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4 of 4  Mon 18th Mar 2013 12:04pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:437

Altering the street pattern so it's more legible is a definite must. Some of those could be old routes that have been removed/covered up (Burges to Hertford St), or new ones that connect current routes in a more sensible way with better sightlines etc. There are too many dead-ends and unfathomable routes. But beyond that not really. Although you can create more efficient buildings that look old in terms of size they still don't offer a massive amount of usable space and aren't really economically viable. I'm no fan of many of the modern buildings but it's not them that are really the problem. It's the lack of activity around the city centre that is the problem and that has been caused by the stupid layouts that have been put down post-war. If the streets were full of people and the place felt alive the buildings themselves wouldn't really be much of an issue. MK is a horrid soulless place with dull architecture but it's not considered as bad as Coventry because it's busy. Put those people in Cov and vice-versa and the problems cited here would instantly be mentioned in MK whereas Coventry's reputation would massively improve. However, I do think the historical nature of this city could help it in the start of regaining those people a bit. I've mentioned to you elsewhere about how I'd move authentic old buildings into an area around the cathedral quarter to allow them to have more 'impact' (a bit like Spon St but bigger and more prominent) and show the city and its history more clearly. The history is still there but it's too spread out, and by-and-large is so sparse all context is totally lost.. Potentially it could attract more visitors, create a greater amount of civic pride and just generally make it look more like a place you want to be. In business terms I'd see it as a loss leader - enabling other developments of retail/office/residential to go ahead without being compromised and ultimately be more profitable, and thus attracting other investors.
Reconstructing the old city the way it was?

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