The Expanded City

The Expanded City is a three-stage project, which investigates the changing nature of cities. During the last decade, urban development was largely concerned with transforming post-industrial city centres into retail and residential developments. However, projects such as Preston’s City Deal scheme – part of a national initiative to encourage economic growth in key cities across England – increasingly involve building cities from the outside in.

Following an invitation by Preston City Council, we have been working with a group of artists, writers and designers to critique and contribute to the scheme, which includes the creation of over 17,000 houses as well as new roads and amenities on Preston’s rural fringes. Through a focus on the practical and political aspects of issues such as housing, play and leisure provision, transport infrastructure, emotional connections to the land, and environmental stewardship, the artists have developed projects which raise questions about and offer suggestions for the future of Preston and other expanding cities.

Artists: Emily Speed, Gavin Renshaw, Olivia Keith, Lauren Velvick, Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene, The Decorators, Julia Heslop
Location: North Preston (City Deal areas)
Years: 2016 – 2020
Partners: City Deal, Preston City Council, Story Homes Ltd, Harris Museum, Matt Macdonald transport consultants, Preston Transport Plan
Funders: Arts Council of England, Preston City Council, City Deal

The Expanded City Projects

Lie of the Land Symposium (2018)

Lie of the Land was a day of artworks, presentations and conversations, which drew on research undertaken by artists in The Expanded City programme to explore how our everyday lives are shaped by the ownership, management and development of land.

The symposium featured talks by Peter Hetherington – journalist and author of the book Whose Land is Our Land: The use and abuse of Britain’s forgotten acres, and Julia Heslop – a Newcastle-based artist whose self-build housing project, Protohome (2016), examined participatory alternatives to mainstream housing provision. The event also included a bus tour to sites in and around Preston, where The Expanded City artists presented their research into issues of housing, cycling infrastructure and the changing landscape.

Speakers: Charles Quick & Elaine Speight, Peter Hetherington, Julia Heslop, Olivia Keith, Ian Nesbitt & Ruth Levene, Lauren Velvick, Gavin Renshaw
Location: Bartle Hall and locations around the north of Preston
Year: 2018
Partners: Preston City Council, City Deal, Story Homes Ltd
Funders: Arts Council of England, Preston City Council, City Deal

The Expanded City Network (2017-18)

The Expanded City network brought together artists in the project with experts from other disciplines to discuss issues which had arisen in their research, through a series of public events.

The Expanded City Symposium (2016)

This first symposium, which took place in Woodplumpton and District Club in the north of Preston, presented the first stage of research in the Expanded City project. Alongside presentations about urban demographics by economist Paul Swinney, the production of community spaces by design collective The Decorators, and a performance lecture by Ian Nesbitt and Ruth Levene, the day included a bus trip around the City Deal areas, where Gavin Renshaw, Olivia Keith and Lauren Velvick presented their work-in-progress.

In Certain Places

VB005A, Victoria Building
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE