a leeds revolution

Making Temple A Great Place To Be - a personal view

October 22, 2019

Making Temple A Great Place To Be  - a personal view

Temple is a place where things are happening. They are happening now and they will be happening in the future; one step at a time as Temple evolves to become a ‘great place’ to be. CEG’s Temple development is an opportunity to build on the great assets already in the area and connect them together with a thriving city centre and an established local community. It is a rounded development that is essentially about making a place; creating and harnessing a thriving neighbourhood and providing a destination.

So what are some of the factors that make a ‘great place? In my own personal opinion, this should involve:

  • Sociability – a diversity of people, how the area is used at different times of day, social networks and places to meet up
  • Uses and activities – jobs, retail, homes, amenities, economic standing
  • Access and connectivity – pedestrian priority over vehicles,  proximity, convenience and public transport within a short walk
  • Comfort and safety – community facilities, architecture, history, crime and crime prevention measures, cleanliness

For its location Temple already scores very highly, and the overall aim of the CEG development is to build on the positives, identify what needs to be changed through regeneration and make the changes happen. That might sound simple on paper, but it is not just about securing the future of historic buildings and the creation of new ones, crucial though this is. It’s the spaces in between that also make the difference and how they are created and how they are maintained.

‘Placemaking’ is  evaluating a specific area and planning, designing and managing new development so it revitalises the area and builds on the positive character and identity that is already there. But also, and most importantly, this needs to be done as predominantly a people-led initiative. A ‘great place’ needs to function for the people that use it. So what are their needs and aspirations?

Whilst the site of the Globe Point and One Globe Square developments awaits building work commencing in early 2020, there is plenty going on that is planning to utilise the character of the current Temple area.

At the moment there is little permanent publicly useable space in the Temple district where people can linger and enjoy their time, and so CEG have created some. ‘Temple Arches’ is an adaptable event space beyond the viaduct and the soon-to-be-emerging Globe Square location. You might know it as the site of graffiti artist Insa’s most recent creation in Leeds, but you will soon know it as the first example of creative ‘meanwhile’ use, which aims to promote the potential of what Temple can bring.

Temple Arches was the location for the ‘Oktoberfest Leeds’ event in 2019, which is the now traditional celebration of Bavarian culture in the form of a convivial and atmospheric marquee gathering that partakes in large steins of German beer, archetypal German cuisine and much communal music and singing. This started on Thursday 10th October and continued through the weekend of the 11th and 12th, before it re-commenced for the weekend just gone of 18th and 19th.

Plans are also afoot to use Temple Arches for various other community activities, with the location having the potential to host seasonal and family events.

(Part of the Temple Arches event space) 

Temple was also a new location on the map for ‘Light Night Leeds 2019’. Each year has produced an even more challenging and ambitious output from the creative sector of Leeds, for what is now one of the best celebrations of the city and its cultural output in the social calendar. The ‘Temple Zone’ was hosted at Tower Works and Granary Wharf at the recent 2019 Light Night Leeds and included four separate installations incorporating music, sculpture and dance as well as immersive and interactive technologies.

These events at Temple are a way to bring residents, local businesses, neighbouring communities and visitors to the area, to experience what is happening, what potential there is and perhaps  to serve as a reminder of how close the area is to the city centre.

Placemaking is about reimagining and reinventing everyday spaces, and there is so much scope to do that at Temple, in between the many thriving bars, cafes, restaurants and the dynamic, creative and digital businesses that have already made Temple their home.

(Photo credits: CEG. Two of the light installations in the Temple Zone of Light Night Leeds 2019)

CEG are taking a collaborative approach to placemaking, in order to strengthen the connections that already exist, and make re-connections where there is a need. This is the people-led approach which will ensure that proposed solutions have a greater benefit, and even if they are short term solutions, like the Temple Arches event space, they show a pathway to a longer term legacy.

In terms of making a place, Temple already has great waterfront access, creative and ambitious people and fascinating architecture. In addition to building developments it now needs to be connected by attractive open plazas, bridges, crossings and safe accessible streets and pathways. This in turn will bring jobs and training opportunities and result in an engaged and committed neighbourhood and a thriving destination.  

To do that CEG has spoken with local people and organisations and identified the common problems in Holbeck in terms of physical infrastructure. This is recognised in under-used spaces, social isolation and traffic headaches, and so people-led solutions are being incorporated into the designs for the wider Temple masterplan and should emerge to capitalise on the local assets that exist, and help to create a ‘great place’.

The temporary event space at Temple Arches is a practical and cost-effective way to bring short term benefits and to promote a conceptual idea of the capacity the area has. It will hopefully offer local people, businesses and visitors a vision of Temple in its entirety, and in that sense, Temple Arches really is just the beginning.