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There is probably a large number of people reading this blog post who have never visited Teesside. Why would they when you have the beautiful cities of Durham, Newcastle, Leeds and York all within an hour drive? This post is going to explore Teesside and celebrate what it has to offer. After all, Teesside did build the world. we-built-the-worldMiddlesbrough FC Fans showing their support to the steel industry –  Evening Gazette

Teesside prides itself on its chemical industry, past and present. It is most notably famous for its steel industry providing the material for structures such as the Sydney Harbour bridge, the Tyne Bridge and the new World Trade Centre. Over the past decade, the steel industry has almost entirely become a distant memory in the history of Teesside, with Tata Steel (now newly named British Steel) being the only remaining major producer of steel in the area. The loss of jobs in the steel industry hit Teesside hard, with mass protests aimed at the current (conservative) government to provide the resources to help resurrect the industry.

Teesside also has a very large chemical industry, with sites based in Wilton, Billingham and Seal Sands. These sites provide a significant percentage of the employment in Teesside.steel-beachFormer SSI Steel plant, Redcar – The Northern Echo

But aside from the industrial past, which you will struggle to find anyone from Teesside who isn’t proud of it, Teesside is also developing its urban fabric at a fairly rapid rate. New businesses, jobs and homes are all being thrown into the area along with major redevelopments in areas such as Middlehaven which included the £70m new Middlesbrough College and the £20m Manhattan Gate Building. The major issue with the Middlehaven development is that, as Councillor Maelor Williams stated to the Evening Gazette in 2015, “there’s no feeling of a plan that’s joined up, it’s all bitty.” The worry is that there is so many different stakeholders trying to mark their stamp in Middlehaven that once it’s completed, it won’t have any coherence behind it – it won’t represent Middlesbrough. manhattan-gateManhattan Gate building, Middlehaven, Middlesbrough – Dodds Brown Property Consultants
middlesbrough-collegeMiddlesbrough College, Middlehaven – Middlesbrough College Website

A recent article in the Evening Gazette (2016) celebrates what Teesside has to offer, stating that it’s often incorrectly portrayed in the media. Images of “boarded up houses or smoke rising from heavy industry” being the reguarly used photographs. It’s no wonder that there’s a lack of investment in Teesside. What developer would want to buy land in Teesside if they are under the impression that the area they’re investing in is in this state? What the media often fails to show is the positives of the area such as the recent developments to Teesside University, with the university’s new landmark building The Curve winning the Project of the Year award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors North East. This coming in a year which saw the new Ashington Leisure Centre (Ryder) and the Hebburn Central Community Centre (FaulknerBrowns) built in the North-East. the-curveThe Curve, Teesside University – Teesside University Website 

Also, just a few miles outside of this so called ball of smog, there are miles upon miles of beautiful scenery amongst the Cleveland Hills. Not every town or city has the luxury of having this so close to its doorstep. http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/discover/geology/cleveland-hillsCleveland Hills with Roseberry Topping, Cleveland Hills – North York Moors National Park Authority

The message this post is trying to get across is that it is important not to arrive at an assumption of a town or city based on the information given to you by the media. Teesside does have its issues, but name me a place that doesn’t. If you really want to understand a place, as Henri Lefebvre (1991) describes, you must physically experience it.

 

References

Dodds Brown Independant Commercial Property Consultants, 2015. “Best” offices space comes to the market in Middlesbrough. [Online]
Available at: http://www.doddsbrown.co.uk/news/best_office_space_in_middlesbrough
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

Evening Gazette, 2015. 11 of the best Boro card displays, flags and banners at The Riverside. [Online]
Available at: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/11-best-boro-card-displays-9247631
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

Lefebvre, H., 1991. The production of Space. 1 ed. New Jersey: Wiley.

Middlesbrough College, 2016. Welcome to Middlesbrough College. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mbro.ac.uk/home/index/collegeinfo/welcome.aspx
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

North York Moors National Park Authority, 2016. Cleveland Hills. [Online]
Available at: http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/discover/geology/cleveland-hills
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

Teesside University, 2016. Campus Heart. [Online]
Available at: https://www.tees.ac.uk/sections/about/campusdevelopments/campusdevelopmentsdetail.cfm?building_id=1
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

The Northern Echo, 2015. Teesside steel maker warns companies face real struggle. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/news/13619108.display/#
[Accessed 25 November 2016].

 


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

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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