In September 2016, Design Circle hosted the event MUD: Metro Urban Density, which was a collaborative exploration into future Cardiff Capital Region Metro sites.
The event was held to promote creative thinking about the benefits that new Metro stations could bring. The Metro is envisaged as a transport system that will transform the way people travel. It will be the largest transport infrastructure project in the City Region in a lifetime.
Participants were divided into six teams, each allocated a different station site. The task was to visualise a future for the area immediately around the station. Each team spent the morning visiting and analysing their site, its surroundings and its potential. In the afternoon, each team worked together to conceive what could be possible.
The individual sites were as follows:
• Caerleon, Newport, on the Marches Line to North Wales and Manchester;
• Cogan, Vale of Glamorgan, on the Barry Line;
• Nelson, Caerphilly, on a freight line off the Rhymney Line;
• Pontypridd Goods Yard, Rhondda Cynon Taff, on the Merthyr and Aberdare Lines;
• Tredegar Park, Newport, on the Ebbw Valley Line;
• Wedal Road, Cardiff, on the Rhymney Line.
The event concluded with a feedback session from each team. The entire process was filmed and presented to the decision-makers linked to the Metro, to encourage them to imagine the biggest and best potential outcomes.
The MUD: Report, which supports the MUD: Film, captures the process and conclusions reached during the day. The report, all 94 pages, can be downloaded here:
We ran a mini follow-up focused on the Rhiwbina station in May 2017 called #flashMUD.
25 local residents, architects, planners and designers took part in a half-day creative session which explored the brief, historical context and future potential brought by the proposed Metro. The report can be downloaded here:
My Perfect Metro
These events have all highlighted the need for creative thinking about the benefit that the new Metro could bring to the people and communities within the region. Design Circle continues to champion this approach and will be launching #MyPerfectMetro in June 2019.
#MyPerfectMetro is an online interactive game similar to “SIMcity”.
Participants can drag-and-drop different types of public spaces and buildings to construct their ideal combination of facilities that should be located around a Metro stop. Once completed, those playing can ‘submit’ their #MyPerfectMetro design.
Underlying this online game, we will be recording each player’s prioritisation of the different spaces and buildings – proximity, size, density, etc.
From this raw data, we hope to be able to produce a large scale analysis of what people wish to prioritise (and deprioritise) around the future Metro stops, which in conjunction with reference to best practice, we can then translate into well evidenced, meaningful design guidance that can be offered to help future planning decisions.