by Nicolas Moreton
Urban and environmental regeneration is a great aspiration to hold but once this infrastructure is developed and built it is then a question of how people move around and navigate in those spaces that matter. Traditionally signage and in particular brown information signs have been used to inform and direct the movement of people.
A development such as 'The Abington Street Project / A Fusion of Ideas' which is to become a major focal point of economic and cultural growth for Northampton requires a form of signage that is appropriate to the project itself. Alongside the brown information signs I would like to propose a more subtle and suitable form of evocative signage.
Northampton was built around the River Nene. A life source which established our town and gave it a focus for the settlement to thrive. The project 'A Fusion of Ideas' will also centre itself on the life force of water. An active vibrant source which again will be at the heart of our community. It is my intention to link these two powerful sources by the simple usage of the FISH. The fish is a simple but effective symbol of life, fertility and sustenance. With this in mind I would like to propose a 'fish' trail that would start from the railway station and lead up into town linking with the Abington Street Project and down to the theatres and Macintosh Building and museum.
The image of the fish will be the dimensions of a household brick and embedded into the pavement of the street. It is the sculptor's idea that these fish bricks are to be made by local school children. Many schools could be utilised, as each child will make just one brick. The intention is to not only make our streets informative, interactive and fun but to make our community feel involved with our town's redevelopment.
Developing an Identity
Social prosperity comes hand in hand with a renewed sense of civic pride. Northampton's need to revitalise its heart is self-apparent. The Abington Street Project linked to a strong community signage programme will not only change the way we think of our town but the way we live and the way use our town centre.
Most of all this interactive involvement will create respect for the installation among our community, especially in the young who will have helped to restore a sense of pride in Northampton's town centre.