Friday, 6 January 2012


The Strengths of Bradford.  Can you think of any more?

Architecture: From the Lockwood and Mawson's Neo Gothic gems of The Wool Exchange and City Hall are amongst the 19th century architectural heritage that defines most of the city centre, when Bradford was the home of the Worsted Wool Trade.  Many of the 19th century buildings were replaced in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Brutalist High Point building, described by Owen Hatherley as 'unnervingly brilliant and insane'.

wool exchange

Culture: The City Centre has the Imax and Pictureville Cinemas and has an International Film Festival and the city was named UNESCO City of FilmSt George’s Hall and the Alhambra to give it a good programme of shows with comedy, music and theatre. There are galleries at Cartwright Hall, outside of the city centre, and at the Media Museum, Bradford 1 and The Impressions Gallery, as well as the Pop Up Art Space.  The National Media Museum is one of the UK’s main museums outside London. In 2011, the city hosted the first Ways of Looking photography festival.

City Park:
The yet to officially open City Park is one of the biggest public realm projects in the country, the fountains can add real activity on a summers day, as well as the myriad of light displays it showcases at night and this space can host events and be an attraction in its own right.

Bradford City Park

Shops: People do still shop in the city centre, even though the ‘offer’ of multiple shops isn’t what it should be, there is a range of independent and specialist shops within the city centre.  The city centre is good for buying diverse international foods, as celebrated in the World Mile concept and specialist shops like Bradford Camera Exchange have held their own in the city for decades.

University and College:
Both of these institutions, on the edge of the city centre, attract thousands of people to the city centre. 

School of Health Studies, Bradford University

Curry: Bradford is the curry capital of the UK, perhaps this is not a strength for the city centre, as many restaurants are located on the edge of the centre, or on Leeds Road.  There are other good Budget Eats around the City Centre, as featured in the Guardian, but sadly not many.

Pubs: The city centre has some good pubs selling real ale and quality beer and one could drink a whole range of different ales in many distinct ale houses.

Existing Groups /  A will to improve things: The Positive Bradford day in September showed that many people want to speak up for the city and improve it.  The strength of feeling aroused by the city centre, shows that people care about it.

Links to other places: The proximity of Bradford to other cities and towns, as well as beautiful countryside and national parks should make the city centre an attractive place to live and work (Even though it does seem odd to list this is a strength, it is / should be an influence on the city centre).

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