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Recently we started to learn housing alternative, which ask us to look around and deeply understand the neighbourhood design. We went to several case studies with Building For Life 12 document to analysis where schemes are succeeded or not.

The case I choose is Staiths South Bank, which located beside the Dunston Staiths in Gateshead. Early in 2001 Wimpey City appointed IDPartnership to prepare housing proposals for the former Gateshead Garden Festival site on the banks of the River Tyne, with a view to finding a better route, and delivering an improved and much more relevant housing product.

Dunston Staiths is located approximately 2.5 km west of Gateshead Centre and Newcastle on the southern banks of the River Tyne and the northern edge of Dunston in Gateshead. Set against the backdrop of the spectacular listed Dunston Coal Staiths Structure, it is a distinctive residential neighbourhood of 635 homes set around pedestrian friendly streets and a series of communal spaces – a mix of 2 and 3 storey houses centred around shared landscaped courtyards and apartment blocks located alongside the River Tyne.


  1. Connections

The north of the site is Clasper Village, and to the south, Dunston, both neighbourhoods within the Housing Market Renewal area. In order to increase site more motivation. There is a system of cycling paths within the Staiths, which could link into the wider cycling network. Only one local bus uses the bus stop on Team Street with pedestrian routes link with the residential development. Totally, the neighbourhood has great surroundings but it connects wider area badly. Its became a large neighbourhood, so that people live in Staiths walk too long from one side to another. It became a large closed neighbourhood.

  1. Facilities and services

There is a wide mix of one, two, three, and four-bedroom houses or flat with landscaped courtyards and corridors focusing on play areas, all of which takes priority over the car and other vehicles. And also many well-designed garbage collect area. There is also a café/information point at the heart of the neighbourhood. It also offers some goods for sale.

  1. Public transport

There are two main vehicular access points to the site. Pedestrian and cycling routes are also provided from the riverside walkway (connecting with Gateshead centre and Baltic Square via the riverside sculpture park), and which is part of the National Cycling Network (NCN) Route 14, Keelmans Way. Bus routes are available within a 400m walk – connecting residents to Gateshead, Newcastle and the Metro Centre.

  1. Meeting local housing requirements

A range of different housing types the Staiths has provide, such as terrace house, detached house and flats. There are different stories houses, and smaller or larger houses the buyers and tenants could choose. The most successful aspect of Staiths South Bank is the people-friendly layout, not separate the terrace houses with the flats far away. Which creates a vastly more attractive living environment, particularly in terms of creating a sense of a genuine community.

  1. Character

The Staiths creates it special inspired by the mixed type of buildings and the mixed of materials. It fits with the topography of local character.

  1. Working with the site and its context

A great view of the river provides a series great view housing to choose, and also provide a great jogging and cycling path along the riverside. And a café as a hub in the centre of the Staiths also face to the river and neighbourhood landscape. But expect the river, the neighbourhood work with the original green space at the east of the site badly.

  1. Creating well defined streets and spaces

Trees along the housing frontages and separate the car parks protect privacy from the public. Children playground and public green space are detached from main road, that could create a safer public space and enhance people used.

  1. Easy to find your way around

From a distance people could see the different types of residential arranged in an orderly manner, making it easy to recognize the existence of residential areas. That creates a readable neighbourhood. But again, the neighbourhood is too big to find the specific building.

  1. Streets for all

The streets in the neighbourhood all have names and clear signpost, also they looked different together with the car park, the green space and the activate space.

  1. Car parking

Car ownership is restricted to one car space per household, with 25% visitor parking. Reduced car ownership and careful design encourages low car speeds which enhance pedestrian primacy and play safety. The car park surrounded with bunches which looked well compared with car park itself. The car park of flats layout on the ground floor in its yard.

  1. Public and private spaces

Some of the houses have own small external backyard and garden spaces. In addition to the landscaped courtyards, which provide semi-private spaces for the residents mentioned above. the pedestrian links provide for a variety of play opportunities in a safe environment. These areas are all very well overlooked and are equipped with a range of play features to stretch the imagination. But many little public spaces are too scattered too find and use.

  1. External storage and amenity space

There also are many communal bicycle storage room for neighbourhood. And bins are organized in such well-designed space and hidden by shelter.

Totally – Green – 5   Amber – 6   Red – 1


BfL Booklet,

Staiths South Bank a Retrospective,


School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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