Linear City (Unbuilt)

‘ You can walk or ride undercover from hotel to restaurant to theatre to nightclub to bowling alley after a day of tennis, swimming, lectures, womanising and chastisement if that’s the way you want it’. Northern Architect, July 1965.

In 1965 a group of local Architects (Napper), Planners (Wilfred Burns and the Newcastle City Planners) and Politicians (T. Dan Smith) published a hugely ambitious and somewhat fanciful manifesto for the future of the wider north east region: a continuous city-region metropolis. The plan structured the emerging post-war growth of the region by categorising the region’s geography into different types and exaggerating each one; the countryside, hilltown, lakeside, ‘sandwalk’, funfair and the ‘Pleasure City’.This in turn was to be supported by a transit web; mono-rail at the local level, an inter-city service, regional railway connections. ‘Cities are for people and not cars’ and pedestrians would therefore be raised above the cars on decks with retail, entertainment and housing at the uppermost level.  The vision encompassed the principal of the city fully integrated with the countryside for maximum leisure potential.

To some extent Linear City presupposed many big ideas that would subsequently establish themselves; the Metro system, Kielder Water (the lakeside), inner-city living, the half-built sky decks of Newcastle city centre.  The political agenda arguably pre-empted later attempts at regional devolution in the North East.

All images copyright of Napper Architects