Stanley Street Quarter: How prioritising safety and accessibility creates greater social and economic prosperity
|Client:||Liverpool City Council|
|Location:||Liverpool City Centre|
Liverpool, a city with vibrant culture that has undergone decades of transformation, was still drastically behind in openly supporting a dedicated LGBT+ quarter within the city. By creating a plan to officially support, develop and promote Stanley Street, the unofficial LGBT+ centre of Liverpool at the time, would not only aim to lower the rates of crime and harassment, but drive a new wave of investment, activity, and tourism to the area. Well placed between the cultural, commercial, retail and waterfront districts of the city, Stanley Street is in walking distance from already popular areas. But how do you attract a wider audience to take a stroll to the area in the daytime whose perception of the area is unsafe and unattractive?
“What impressed me most about Feria Urbanism’s performance was the excellent stakeholder workshop carried out as part of the process”
Mike Cockburn, City Centre Manager, Liverpool City Council
Our study involved a range of stakeholder interviews and a public engagement workshop whereby a range of people with an interest in the future of the area and wider city came together to complete tasks that revealed key themes for the vision of Stanley Street. We considered Stanley Street and its connecting streets as a new cultural quarter, enabling nearby venues that cater to the LGBT+ community to market themselves as part of a prominent community. By branding the Stanley Street Quarter, individual attractions strengthen their prominence and visiting appeal as part of a recognised area.
As for the quarter’s nightlife, several subterranean bars were creating physical barriers to entry for people with physical disabilities. It was agreed that more venues should be held at street level to provide greater inclusivity to the LGBT+ community. A consequence of more street level venues would be safer experiences that better connect indoor and outdoor activities.
Other popular suggestions included bold entranceways, colourful canopies, new street surfaces and an audit of current street clutter. A quality environment would also attract investment from the hospitality sector as well as groups who could harness the extra pedestrian space to host regular events to large audiences.
“The Stanley Street report is exceptional; the best report of its type I have seen in recent years. I firmly believe that Feria Urbanism have produced something special that will have a very positive impact on the future of the city”
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, Liverpool City Council
As a result of our study and recommendations, the Stanley Street Quarter in Liverpool became the first formally recognised LGBT+ quarter in the UK. There is now a thriving Community Interest Company (CIC) in place, which has implemented many of the recommendations in our original report, including the first rainbow-branded street signs in the country. Some streets in the quarter have now been partially or fully pedestrianised and more hospitality has moved in. Regular events are held in the quarter, appealing to a wide demographic. In 2021, the Stanley Street Quarter was rebranded as the Liverpool Pride Quarter, a testament to the areas improved safety and increased popularity.