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Park Hill

Making my place in the world Park Hill Alan Parkinson

Introduction

This was an extensive project that was put together to help students develop their vocabulary and become comfortable using similar language to that used by developers at Park Hill.

On the Park Hill Project website you can view pictures, both from the past and the present, listen to podcasts from the planners at Sheffield City Council and watch clips relating to the initiatives of the regeneration project.

Background on Park Hill

This site is relatively infamous in Sheffield, largely due to its location and physical appearance (it can be seen for many miles around and is viewed by many as an eyesore), but also due to its interesting history.

Back-to-back housing clearance began in the area in the 1950s. Park Hill Flats were built as a pioneering project and were known as the ‘streets in the sky’. They were designed with community in mind and were considered a great success for the city.

In the 1990s they were given Grade II listed status (the largest listed building of its kind in Europe) and as a result when the area went into decline they could not be demolished.

The regeneration project was then taken on by Urban Splash, a development company who are currently transforming the declined buildings into luxury flats.

Park Hill as a geography study topic

The iconic nature of this area has meant it has been used by local schools for a number of years as a case study for urban regeneration, rebranding and gentrification.

We hope that the online project could make it more accessible to students further afield.

  • The whole project lends itself to decision making exercises about what could be done for the area, using key events as a way of engaging the students, e.g. the listed building status, those living in the back-to-back housing and their opinions, the current views on the area etc.
  • The pictures, podcasts and video clips could all be used to precede a trip and aid planning and understanding prior to visiting the area.
  • These could also be used as a way of refreshing the students’ ideas and reviewing what they have seen on a trip when back in the classroom.
  • The podcasts can be listened to by students and used as a way of developing their vocabulary to assist in their understanding of the ‘planner talk’.
  • The photos can be viewed and dated and used as an online scrapbook of changes in the area. You could also use these as a way of developing a timeline of the area and initiating discussions on changing urban landscapes and the positive and negative associations of regeneration.
  • The video clips could be used to introduce the topic, one in particular (Why did they build Park Hill Flats?) could be used as an initial decision making exercise or a discussion on what they would do after the slum clearance.

Download a comprehensive set of Park Hill lesson resources from the School resources page.

Sample GCSE questions

We’ve adapted some questions from AQA Spec A and OCR Spec A to use Park Hill as a specific example of urban change.

Park Hill GCSE questions

Living together – will it work?

When the flats have been renovated they will be occupied by a mixture of private and local authority tenants. This is another interesting topic to debate with students – do they think the combination of residents will work?

Park Hill residents spider diagram

Links

BBC – In pictures: New Park Hill flats in Sheffield unveiled (02.09.11)

BBC – Park Hill in pictures: 2006-2009

BBC – Park Hill’s history

Guardian – Park Hill estate, Sheffield – review

Park Hill Flats a Grand Old Lady – reflections on the ‘Take Now Or Stay The Same’ blog.

Sheffield City Council – History of Park Hill flats

Urban Splash – Park Hill Flats

Yorkshire Film Archive – Park Hill Housing Project (c.1962)

Yorkshire Post – article: Inside Sheffield’s ‘new’ Park Hill Flats

School resources >>>

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