Personal tools
You are here: Home VivaCity2020 Toolkit Urban Design Decision-Making Case Studies Case Study: Sheffield

Case Study: Sheffield


SheffieldFountainSheffield has been in a state of economic recovery since the collapse of the steel industry and coal mining in the 1970s and 1980s.This has lead to modern-day improvement of the old industrial areas of the city, along with an improvement of the city centre, including more public spaces, recreational facilities, access to rivers and more parks. The Devonshire Quarter in the city centre has seen a large amount of improvements, including urban green space, mixed-use and mixed-tenure housing, independent retail and more meeting spaces. This case study looked at the development of a sustainable cit centre community in Sheffield’s Devonshire Quarter.


Information was gathered about the Devonshire Quarter between April 2005 and August 2005. Interviews were conducted with a number of Devonshire Quarter sources, including members of Sheffield City Council, urban and regional regeneration specialists, a voluntary sector business person, a private sector developer, a business owner and manager, a resident and a retailer. Minutes from Sheffield City Council meetings were consulted, along with reports from VivaCity colleagues about Sheffield, and local and national documents regarding planning policy and sustainability.

A detailed timeline was produced, outlining the regeneration process in detail. This can be found in greater detail in the Case Study Document.

Urban Design Decision-Making

Five stages of the Urban Design Decision-Making Process for the Devonshire Quarter can be found from the timeline of the project. These stages correspond with major decisions made over the past 25 years.

1) The decision to keep Devonshire Green an open space and to create an open park on the land.

Sheffield City Council and the planning department decided to make the area a green space for the Broomhall Flats residents and the surrounding area. Government guidelines about economic regeneration in disadvantaged areas were consulted. Consideration of sustainability is reflected in the development of an open space, which included the mixed-use and mixed-tenure housing in and around Devonshire Green.

2) The decision to allow inner city housing grants to fund housing in the Devonshire Quarter.

The housing department of Sheffield City Council felt that the Devonshire Quarter would be a good place for housing developments in the city centre. Discussions between public and private sector stakeholders took place in an attempt to persuade developers to create housing instead of retail. Knowledge of the economic climate of the city was used, and mixed-use was considered. Consideration of sustainability issues can be found in the maintenance of open space and the creation of affordable city centre accommodation.

3) The decision to open the Forum.

Two decision-makers decided to open the Forum on Division Street in the Devonshire Quarter, combining a café and independent shops. The Forum offers promising beginnings for new businesses, who can start small in the Forum and move to bigger premises. A diverse clientele use the Forum due to its mix of uses, which make it a flexible development.

4) The decision to design and build the West One.

A private developer worked closely with Sheffield City Council to build the West One. The developers strove to incorporate sustainability issues into both the design and the build of the project. This included energy efficient materials, soundproof insulation, limiting waste, landscaped roof gardens, public spaces and discussion of crime issues.

5) Decision to create the Devonshire Quarter Association.

Sheffield City Council wanted to create a group of stakeholders from within the Devonshire Quarter, to combine experience and knowledge. This consisted of members of the voluntary sector, businesses, residents and students. Although the Devonshire Quarter is not sustainable (it will disband when Devonshire Green is finished), sustainability issues are seen as important, and crime issues are taken into account, as well as the diversity of the local population.WP1SHeffield


Sheffield city centre and the Devonshire Quarter have only recently been the focus of regeneration initiatives. Unique opportunities for independent retailers and mixed-use community spaces have been developed. The Devonshire Quarter Association have been active in decision-making, ensuring the community is involved and consulted throughout the regeneration projects. Sustainability has been considered, with open spaces retailed and the Devonshire Quarter becoming a good example of sustainable development. The Devonshire Quarter can be said to be set up well for sustainability in the future.


ToolsHouseClick here for a full copy of the Sheffield Case Study (Microsoft Word document, 3.7mb)

BackHouseBack to Case Studies

© Images Copyright Andrew Wooton 2008

Document Actions