Plans revealed for new oasis in Sheffield city centre where people can exercise and connect with nature

A new green space planned for Sheffield city centre will be specially created to encourage physical activity and help people relax and connect with nature.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 3:35 pm

Sheffield Hallam University has submitted plans for the first phase of its major new campus within its current City Campus on the former Science Park and car park at Howard Street.

Three new buildings will be erected around a new public area provisionally named University Green on Arundel Lane.

In the planning application, the university says: “Recreation and activity academic studies have shown the positive impacts of good quality public spaces in improving mental wellbeing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An artists' impression of the scheme.
An artists' impression of the scheme.

“The heavily greened and attractive public space encourages people to make connections to both nature and their peers in a safe, city centre environment.

“As well as being in a relaxing sanctuary space, the University Green will incorporate an element of activity which will tie in to the wider philosophy of the green.”

The university hopes to install a power supply which would be used for events, pop-up food catering, big screen viewings or live music.

Outdoor spaces could host temporary art installations, drama, music recitals or a speakers corner.

There’s scope for adding markings or engravings to paved surfaces to highlight walking and running routes and trails.

And there would be spaces for yoga, tai chi, outdoor fitness classes, stretching and temporary games such as table tennis.

The application adds: “Yoga, pilates, stretching and body weight exercises would all be suitable for University Green and would compliment the lush, green, sanctuary feel.

“By not defining specific areas for activity, the layout would be more flexible for users to make decisions about where to exercise, based on the time of day and sunlight direction.”

University Green would also provide gardens for “contemplation and immersion in nature”

Informal relaxed spaces with a significant amount of outdoor seating would be placed next to plants to support health and wellbeing through biophilia – the concept of connecting humans to nature.

Even steps would be carefully designed with “highly visible feature staircases” to promote physical activity.

Planners are considering the application, which can be viewed here