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Recreating Urbanity: How neotraditional principles have shaped urban planning in Hulme and by extension Manchester

Part 2 Dissertation 2013
David Kofford
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester UK
The town of Hulme lies less than a mile south of the centre of Manchester. This area has undergone significant changes in the last two centuries, having been entirely cleared and rebuilt twice. The Hulme of the 1980s was suffering from mass unemployment and many of its buildings were crumbling (Kidd, 2002). Because of this, a new rebuilding programme was launched, which would be governed by a design code "that tried to recreate a sense of urbanity" in this inner city area (Robson, 2002).

It is put forward that the rebuilding of Hulme, as set out in the design code, is largely a product of post-modern neotraditional thought. This argument is illustrated by researching the history of the various factions within C20th urbanism and by compiling a list of the main themes and principles which are at the heart of the writings and works of the various players. This list of themes and principles is used to compare the built environment with the design code upon which it is based. This study is not simply an investigation into whether these principles have been applied, but illustrates how, and to what extent, they are manifest.

During the process of research it became apparent that the Hulme design code had been implemented, with minor adjustments, in the rebuilding of Manchester after the 1996 IRA bombing which destroyed much of the shopping district of the city (Manchester City Council, 1997). The final chapters of this work explore ways in which this code was implemented and attempt to understand the differences in the attitude of designers and planners in their application of the codes used in Hulme and Manchester.

It is concluded that while Hulme may look largely traditional in its building style, Manchester city centre does not, yet at its heart pre-modernist principles are distinctly displayed in a more oblique way.

David Kofford

Isabelle Doucet
Sally Stone
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