Type Master Planning
Tirion approached Rio to undertake a master-planning exercise on a site situated in the Welsh Valleys. The brief was to create a new residential development which would attract people to the area. Commuter times to Cardiff are circa 30 minutes and it was hoped that the affordable prices of the development would make it an attractive alternative to expensive housing within Cardiff and promote the Valleys as a viable option in which to live.
A mix of tenure, both affordable-rent and affordable-purchase was required on site. The architectural and urban design challenge was to create a sense of place on a site which had no context to build on. A large public open space was placed at the heart of the site with all streets having a close connection with it. An existing cycle path ran around the Northern and Eastern boundary of the site, this was enhanced as a public walkway/cycleway and the perimeter streets orientated in such a way that all streets and houses had a more immediate relationship with the surrounding landscape and pathways.
Streets were laid out to create as much activity as possible on the street. Parking, often placed to the rear of properties in unloved, unanimated rear parking courts, was instead located to the front of properties, either on plot or as on-street parking. Swales were utilised as a natural way to deal with surface run-off and enhance the soft landscaping. The landscaping was devised as low-lying plants and trees in clusters due to the relatively harsh environment. All residential streets were devised as ‘shared surfaces’ to give priority to pedestrians and keep vehicle speeds to a minimum.