City Park, Bradford, UK

Source: : City of Bradford.



Type of Area

Ornamental water feature or fountain

Land/water interaction


Built Environment Types

Highly built
Low green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Small site

Project Types

Urban water features
Urban design
Public space regeneration

Urban/ Rural

Inner urban area

Visibility and Openness

Fully enclosed
Fully contained view

Aesthetic Stormwater Project

City park, Bradford was opened in 2012 designed by Gillespies Landscape Architects, UK for the Bradford City council. In the masterplan for the city centre drawn up in 2003, a signature project as a focal point in the city was envisaged through regeneration and the creation of a public space.

The resulting project created a destination for informal recreation, altered public perception of the area and supported the local economy and businesses by drawing people to it and increasing footfall. The project involves water features, planting, and public amenities.

The water feature is the central, unique element consist of a 4,000 m² mirror pool and 100 fountains with a complete drain-down provision so that water can appear or disappear. This multi-functional 2.4 ha public space is capable of holding large scale events, as sections function as causeways when the water level is lower.

Crucially for the purposes of this chapter, it also acts as a rainwater retention pond collecting storm water from the immediate area while maintaining the overall visual quality of the place.

The tailor-made lighting design is an innovative feature of the place that provides a playful, night-time setting making the place unique and attractive. The public realm design offers flexible space to be adapted over the years and offer longevity of the life cost of material in use. 

Perception and Meaning

Place identity
Sense of place

Health and Wellbeing

Increased physical activities
Increases socialisation
Place affordance

Interaction with Water

Tactile: Partly in water

The rating for the project demonstrates that the space is highly accessible except for car access and parking (which is controlled to ensure the area is pedestrianised). The design quality of the place is unique, providing a perfect juxtaposition of functionally and aesthetics. However, the project scores somewhat lower for cost-effectiveness maintenance, due to the expensive lighting design and technology for storm water treatment as well as floor surface treatment – although high quality materials and construction are essential here.

The park offers flexible spaces for different activities and facilities, scoring highly for lighting and seating facilities compared to other aspects. It is also highly rated for sense of place and sensory experiences. It scores well for the safety and security. The water connectedness within the place is rated excellent for water visibility and access to water.

The water safety issue is of less importance as the waterbody is shallow or with no water present during dry periods. The project is rated high for informal sport activities and children’s play possibilities with water. The site is divided very well in terms of zoning.