Young professionals in Newcastle and Gateshead are keen on seeing more green spaces near their places of work according to our recent survey conducted ahead of the national RTPI Young Planners Conference taking place in Tyneside.
Keen to provide hundreds of the UK’s young planners attending the conference with some real matters to think about, our survey, supported by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), explored thoughts from Newcastle and Gateshead young professionals and showed that 45% of respondents wanted to see more parks and green spaces, over other amenities such as street food outlets and shops.
Workers cited a range of reasons for this – from wanting a place to unwind during breaks and improved air quality, to being able to hold “walking meetings”. The results correspond with the recent unveiling of Urban Green Newcastle – the newly rebranded Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust – which is aiming to make Newcastle the next National Park City.
Nearly 60% of respondents said they thought it was easy to lead a healthy lifestyle while working in Newcastle and Gateshead, though issues such as a lack of safe cycling spaces were noted.
On transport, 30% of workers wanted to see more traffic free routes for running, walking and cycling with some of those in favour saying Geordies should be encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles.
City edge areas such as Gosforth and Low Fell were seen as the most attractive places to live within commutable distance of Newcastle and Gateshead with 21% of respondents choosing those areas.
Respondents also cited the area’s music scene, access to natural beauty spots in Northumberland and Newcastle’s “incredible character” as reasons to favour living and working in the area. Whilst just 4% wanted to see more public art spaces, including galleries and craft studios.
Planners from other parts of the UK who are likely to be attending the conference were also surveyed helping us see an interesting range of perceptions about Newcastle and Gateshead.
Among the responses, one planner from London said: “I love Newcastle. It’s an affordable city with interesting design concepts.”
Another from Manchester noted: “Newcastle is one of my favourite cities in the UK. It has incredibly beautiful architecture and a real sense of being. It has great transport infrastructure and access to employment facilities/vibrant nightlife. I am especially impressed by the progress the city has made on the provision of cycling infrastructure.”
Not all responses were positive however.
One planner said: “I believe it is a beautiful city, with friendly people, but there is a massive class divide, an even bigger racial and cultural divide and one that needs to be taken seriously over the coming years of future planning.”
Another added: “I enjoy Newcastle and think it has lots of amenities, but the streets are often lined with rough sleepers.”
James Hall, Partner said: “We’ve gathered some really interesting insights from young planners and professionals working across a range of industries in Newcastle and Gateshead.
“As planners we need to be in tune with what people want to see from the areas where they work and live – ours is an absolutely fundamental profession that shapes everything from economic potential to people’s happiness.
“Our findings give attendees of The RTPI Young Planners’ Conference some big challenges to contend with.
“Those perceptions of Newcastle and Gateshead from the planners coming to Tyneside this week also give local authorities, developers and communicators some food for thought.”
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