To those who know it well, have visited it once, or even don’t know it at all, Sheffield seems to have a pretty good reputation, even with Southerners (which is saying something).
With this reputation comes a certain level of responsibility to live up to the positivity that surrounds it. As a place it’s great, but as a city, does it really have everything or is it slowly falling by the wayside?
Students rave about Sheffield, its university culture, its friendly nature, the greenery and how they couldn’t have picked a better place to spend some of the most important years of their lives. As a student I don’t doubt their sentiments, it is one of the most welcoming places you will ever visit.
Student culture may be at its peak, but can this be said for Sheffield culture as a whole? Take The Moor for example – an ongoing development, an exciting prospect for residents who have spent years wishing for a bit of life to be pumped into it. A plan yes, development – not evident. Not that it’s the be-all and end-all, but in a city the size of Sheffield shopping culture should be on a high. Leeds and Manchester, cities of similar status out-do Sheffield by miles when it comes to housing those favourite shopping brands or kooky independents.
Sheffield’s identity has always rested on its history – the place where steel was made, the home of Henderson’s Relish. This is all well and good but living in the past and ignoring the future is a dangerous path to tread in any case.
The city cries out for a little bit of care and attention. New smaller developments are popping up all the time, injecting something a bit different into this divided city. Sheffield is on the verge of being the modern northern hub it should rightfully be, with its cultural sector ever growing and its musical heart still pumping out new talent. These are undoubtedly great things on their own but there is nothing to join them together – a lack of cohesion you might say.
Sheffield’s sectors are divided, disjointed, it has no central heart. The elements it needs are all there but it will just take a little more innovation from those powers that be to make it not just a great place to be, but a great city to be in.