Making Public Space Hip

The group tasked with reenergizing Bermondsey Square in southeast London see their target audience as "urban safarians."
June 1, 2009, 6am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Buildings that sound like fashion brands. Celebrity endorsements. Loft living in Accrington Let's face it, urban regeneration since the nineties has been built on the premise that you can design, build and market the concept of coolness.

This is not an idea that is lost on Igloo, the regeneration body behind Bermondsey Square, a new public space and mixed-use scheme in south-east London that has aspirations of serious cool. It wears its trendiness on its sleeve, from the bespoke bike shed in the corner of the square to the lighting scheme and landscaped street furniture in its central plaza. Eastenders this is not.

"Urban safarians is what we call them," says David Roberts, Igloo's deputy managing director, of the target demographic for the square. "People who are attracted to the vibe that comes from inner-city living."

Bermondsey Square is Igloo Regeneration's first development in London, following the successful completion of phase one of Islington Wharf in Manchester, as part of its Isis joint venture with British Waterways. Like Urban Splash, Igloo believes in using imaginative architecture to bring a distinct urban identity to its inner-city developments."

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Published on Friday, May 29, 2009 in Building
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