Augmented reality, public art, and better pedestrian routes: Four ways the City's "Culture Mile" could be transformed under new proposals

Alys Key
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Two New Murals By The Street Artist Banksy Appear At The Barbican Centre
The area surrounding the Barbican could be transformed dramatically (Source: Getty)

The City of London Corporation is inviting public feedback on proposals to transform the north west corner of the City of London, otherwise known as the "Culture Mile".

The area, which encompasses the Barbican, Smithfield and the surrounding streets, is set to change dramatically with the opening of Crossrail and the Museum of London's move to a larger site in Smithfield Market.

The City of London Corporation has come up with new ideas for the neighbourhood, working with the Barbican, Guildhall School, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, as well as through public events.

Now the public has been asked to feed back on the four key aims of the resulting strategy. The consultation opens from 22 November and will be open to email feedback as well as offering drop-in sessions at various locations.

Create better pedestrian routes along the "cultural spine"

One aim is to make "intuitive" pedestrian routes at ground level which connect the core sites. This would also link the Culture Mile to other cultural hotspots, such as St Paul's and the LSO's St Luke's concert space. The routes could also have better lighting and improved signage alongside opportunities for public art.

Put cultural activities in underused spaces

The art, music, drama and dance which is produced around the Culture Mile will be brought to the streets under a proposal to use vacant spaces to host them. The strategy says this will "create a destination known for both generating and consuming culture". Ideas include projecting art onto buildings, adding new public furniture and short-term projects like pop-up cinemas or art installations.

Use modern technology to highlight the area's rich history

Smithfield Market, the Barbican and St Bartholomew the Great church are all historical landmarks which the strategy developers believe could play a greater role in the area. Suggestions to help reveal the rich history include public art, creative street signs, and a digital augmented reality project.

Raise the profile of the Culture Mile as a recognisable brand

Part of the project will be to ensure the recognition of the "Culture Mile" as a brand, as well as setting out what the brand stands for. This ranges from how the project is funded to how the area looks and feels.

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