Studio Real prepared an urban design framework for the western quarter of Oxford for the City Council some two decades back. The Westgate development is a major piece of that jigsaw and Roger was asked to review the completed scheme for Placemaking Resource. To what extent did the developer follow the framework?
Oxford lacks public spaces with the city’s urban spaces effectively provided by the quadrangles of the university colleges which of are of course private. This quarter of the city presented an opportunity to see what the town, rather than gown, could do. Retail developers know exactly how to channel footfall to their benefit. Ideally this would be aligned to a street-based urbanism where public streets extend the city centre. This is an indoor centre with a few glimpses of the outside world, perhaps there is a limit as to how much town should go under one roof.