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Leeds Dam Island provides a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the City of Leeds to clearly announce its commitment to the sustainable development of the city centre. The island has unique qualities that, put together with a truly imaginative brief, would provide the basis for the provision of an International Architectural Ideas Competition that would not only raise the profile of Leeds but would also put the city ‘on the international map’ as an enlightened patron of high quality sustainable design.

The island’s location, immediately adjacent to the Royal Armouries and at the ‘crossroads’ of the river with one of the main bridges linking the north and south banks of the city centre, provides an ideal location for an imaginative design, capable of generating a significant number of additional visitors to the city from all over the world. The long term proposal for a world-class, centre of excellence, based on the theme of sustainable living, with an iconic, carbon neutral design, would provide Leeds with a unique learning and leisure resource for the use of the local community. The operational constraints of the island, problems associated with flooding and the potential for the provision of an even greater level of bio-diversity can all be accommodated, simply by establishing a raised physical level of development.

The successful delivery of such a long term vision will require active involvement and support, from inception, of the local community, (both on the waterfront and throughout Leeds), the landowner (British Waterways) and all other stakeholders, including The Environment Agency and Leeds City Council.

D J Lumb (Co-ordinator: Leeds Sustainable Development Group and Director: Architecture 519)

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