DIFA-AWARD 2004 goes to Manchester's Millennium Quarter (DE)

  • Französischer Platz (French Square) in Tübingen, Germany awarded second place among “Europe’s best quarters”
  • Special prize for Hamburg’s Alsterdorf Protestant Foundation

Quarters boost the attractiveness of our cities, and in many cases the construction of a quarter can breathe new life into entire urban districts. The Millennium Quarter in Manchester triggered a challenging process of change within the city, which has since been transformed from a grey industrial centre into a dynamic, vibrant city. As an outstanding example of a city centre regeneration project, the six-hectare Millennium Quarter is today being awarded the “property prize for cities”, the DIFA-AWARD 2004, at the EXPO REAL commercial property show. The prize of € 15,000 for “Europe’s best quarter” is based on the international jury’s assessment that the quality of town planning behind the innovative Manchester development was exceptional and the level of quarter management exemplary. “Cooperation between the private and public sector in Manchester has achieved the kind of inner-city revitalisation that should encourage other towns and cities to take the initiative and adopt similar public-private partnerships,” said Professor Jörn Walter, director of Hamburg’s City Building Department and member of the DIFA-AWARD jury, speaking at the awards ceremony in Munich. The Millennium Quarter was created as part of the Masterplan for rebuilding the city centre following the catastrophic bomb damage sustained in June 1996.

The Millennium Quarter was planned and implemented as a PPP project in just under four years as part of a master plan for redeveloping the city centre. The £42 million quarter comprises the iconic Urbis museum, the vibrant public Cathedral Gardens, the visitor centre for Manchester Cathedral and the lively Exchange Square, and has been a key factor behind the improvement of the city centre. “The Millennium Quarter has transformed the run-down heart of the historic city into an attractive public space and opened up the north of the city centre to private investor groups and further town planning/regeneration measures in commendable fashion. The economic impact of the Millennium Quarter is apparent all over Manchester,” explained Professor Walter. After opening in July 2002, the number of visitors to this previously quiet area rose to 250,000 a year.

“Many promising quarter developments which acted as a catalyst for change in cities with problems like Manchester or Birmingham would not have been possible without private investment,” said DIFA Management Board member Dr. Frank Billand at the awards ceremony. “The major regeneration tasks still facing many cities call for serious thought about new forms of cooperation.”

Tübingen recognised as “best German quarter”
The first DIFA-AWARD Europe-wide comparison of quarters saw the Französischer Platz in Tübingen awarded second prize (€ 10,000). Located in the south of the city, the project combines an exciting environment for living and working with a variety of communication options and leisure facilities, all within easy reach on a 22-hectare site. The project stands out because of the outstanding level of resident participation in its planning and realisation, as well as the inspirational measures for revitalising public space. The jury awarded third prize (€ 5,000) to the Finlayson quarter in Tampere, Finland. According to the jury, the transformation of a previously self-contained industrial area of national importance into a vibrant quarter with a strong sense of identity, featuring schools, cinemas, museums, offices, apartments and sport/shopping facilities, has been successfully and impressively realised while at the same time addressing transport issues.

A special prize of € 10,000 was awarded to Hamburg’s Alsterdorf Protestant Foundation. The jury praised the decision to redevelop the old institution in the context of a conversion more often applied to military/industrial sites, describing it as an e

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