Preston City Centre is the focus of an EU funded project called City-Zen, aimed at improving Preston and reducing the city’s carbon footprint over 50 years.
The project, headed up by evironmental professionals, has been looking at the Broadgate area, and has come up with a plethora of ideas and innovations, some of which may be adopted by the city council when they present their findings.
“In my experience with working with local authorities, they’re always looking towards tomorrow or next week, and not much further. I don’t think that’s the way to work, you need to move fast, and have a clear vision of the future and what you might be able to achieve, and then decide how you’re going to get there,” said Professor Greg Keeffe, who is heading up the urban planning part of the project. He went on to say that most of the pollution comes from cars, having to drive into the city. “The only way to change that is to change the connectivity of the city. People won’t walk if they can’t walk in the direction they want to go in. It’s pretty poorly connected across the river.”
As champions of sustainable living, the City-Zen team have a vision of the city in which more people are walking and cycling, enjoying the rich history of the area and the river itself. They propose a change in the way the river is viewed by the residents and visitors. Instead of the city turning its back on the Ribble and seeing it as a nuisance, it is embraced and improved, such as building storm surge defenses and weirs to keep the water at a level where people are encouraged to spend time on its banks.
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