Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Pity Poor Bradford

Once they have enjoyed the splendour and energy of City Park and admired the ornate elegance of City hall, a visitor wandering though the City’s streets will be met with one clear impression: urban decay. Beautiful facades with ornate embellishments are now derelict or disfigured by a series of cheap additions which tell a tale of failed enterprises. Empty and neglected buildings reinforce the story that we are heading on a downward slope to disaster. Buildings constructed since the 1960s are amongst the most depressing examples of brutalism to be seen anywhere in Britain.  Parts of our City are deserted at times when other towns are bustling with activity.  The visitor retires to a more pleasant environment with all their prejudices confirmed. 

But what of the good people of Bradford?
The symptoms of depression include: 
  • Low self-confidence and self-esteem
  • A sense of unreality
  • A feeling of no pleasure in life - turning to alcohol and other drugs for solace.
The City’s many planning mistakes have been based on two fundamental myths:
  • That “A New Era of Prosperity’ is just around the corner.
  • That hope lies in imitating successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) schemes often promoted by sharks from other towns.
Lack of vision, creativity and confidence have plagued some disastrous, and sometimes even corrupt, decision-making in the past. For too long we have laboured under the heavy grey cloud of low expectation: 
“Well, it’s Bradford isn’t it?” (shrug).

Wake up Bradford!
The citizens of Bradford deserve much better than this. We need to rediscover pride in our City and ourselves. The City centre should be at the very heart of our inspiration and hope.

Let’s paint Highpoint pink!
Highpoint is the derelict, ex-YBS, bunker-like building at the foot of Westgate. Painting it bright pink could be the very beginning of a new urban aesthetic. And why stop there?  Over time, Bradford could become a colourful city of wonder and excitement, lifting the spirits of its citizens and its visitors.