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New Urbanism: Hulme Case Study

Sustainability Issue 3
Potential Users: Urban Design Professionals

When to use: Stage Two of Urban Design Decision-Making Process

Related Tools: i-VALUL: The Economic Cost of Crime; Night Time Economy and Crime Case Studies; Retail, Shopping and Crime Case Studies
For more information, contact Caroline Davey and Bill Hillier

  ToolsHouse Click here for a full copy of the Hulme Case Study (Microsoft Word document, 331kb)


GraffittiHulme is an area approximately one mile away from Manchester City Centre. It has suffered from housing and development problems throughout the 20th century, with high crime rates and a fear of crime among residents. In 1992 a regeneration programme begun, which is still taking place today.

VivaCity2020 looked at the impact of the regeneration on residents, along with assessing whether Hulme has become and safer and more sustainable environment in which to live. Changes in crime rates and other sustainability objectives have been taken into account.

New Urbanism

VivaCity also looked at the New Urbanist approach advocated by some participating funding bodies and authorities involved in the regeneration. New Urbanism advocates an increased feel of community in an area, along with mixed-use properties and 24-hour activity throughout an area. Walking and cycling are advocated over car use, and streets are designed to be permeable and accessible to discourage car use and crime. Permeable and open spaces which are self-supervised by constant activity are believed to result in reduced crime rates and less fear of crime. Sustainability is very important, with green space, energy efficiency and the potential for future change and renewal of the area.


Sustainability Issue Three looked at data from a number of sources, including:
  • Strategy documents about the facilities of Hulme
  • Websites and resident e-groups
  • Crime Statistics
  • A visit to Hulme by an Architectural Liaison Officer, an architect and planners in January 2004
  • Nine interviews with residents, community centre employees, three local authority officers and a police officer
  • Information from the Manchester Evening News and local newsletters from the area.

Information was gathered concerning housing, crime and the design of the area as a whole.


  • Poor maintenance of the area, including visible damage to property and disrepair was found to lead to high rates of crime. High density housing needs lots of maintenance, which was not provided in Hulme.
  • There was found to be a lack of pedestrian movement, possibly due to the configuration of the streets, which meant that much of the area was not self-supervised, leading to higher crime rates.
  • Housing design problems have lead to more burglaries. These issues included alleyways which were easily accessible to intruders, balconies which were very easy to climb, and ill-lit courtyard parking behind housing, including numbered parking spaces which indicated when residents were not home.
  • Materials used in many houses were of a poor quality, including weak doors and locks, insufficient courtyard lighting and inadequate gate facilities on parking areas.
  • On-street car parking was found to be a problem, with commuters using the streets of Hulme to park while at work.

  • Social divisions between residents has meant that there is little community activity and interaction between residents.


Despite the problems with housing design, crime and property standards, the Hulme redevelopment does have positive elements:

  • The new housing is attractive and in demand in both the public and private housing sectors.
  • Morale and pride in Hulme seems to be increasing, and original residents are slowly returning. Community campaigns and groups striving for the improvement of Hulme are not only achieving goals, but are enhancing community spirit in the area.
  • Certain types of crime have decreased and many previously problematic areas of Hulme have been addressed.
  • The development of Hulme continues but there is a limit to what can be addressed.
ToolsHouse Click here for a full copy of the Hulme Case Study. (Microsoft Word document, 331kb)

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