My understanding of the Park Hill flats

Categories: Park


For the duration of this research portfolio, I will be explaining my understanding of the Park Hill flats. I will refer to the past, present and future of the site, as well as its materials and construction method. I intend to use a combination of both primary and secondary research, including books, internet, videos, and questionnaires, to give me a great understanding of Park Hills history and how and why it has developed into the complex it currently stands as.

Such analysis will increase my knowledge of the concept, giving me a greater understanding when it comes to my own efforts for the Park Hill based PLAY project.

Location And Function

Park Hill is a partially renovated block of flats located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Originally built between 1957 and 1961, the complex is in close proximity to Sheffield train station and Sheffield Hallam University's main campus. It is situated just behind tramlines that lead to a station approximately 4 minutes away, meaning it can be easily accessed from all over the city.

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The Park Hill block gets its name from being one of seven hills in Sheffield, giving residents a clear view of the city skyline; a factor which I'm sure would have influenced the design concept.

Sheffield's industrial development lead to a need for more housing due to the rising number of workers and their families that moved to the city in the second half of the nineteenth century. Park Hill was designed to provide local housing for around 3000 people, which eventually possessed a community of its own after the 996 flats were utilised.

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History And Context

The flats were constructed between the late fifties and early sixties during Sheffield's industrial growth. The city's increasing population demanded more housing, leading to the development of Park Hill with the input of British architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith. The two were inspired by the Unit? habitation- a housing block in France designed by Le Corbusier in 1952. Lynn and Smith wanted to create the same sense of community that the Unit? habitation had achieved, bringing residents together with commercial use. "Streets In The Sky" was how people used to refer to Park Hill due to its size and range of street levels, each with their own shops, cafes, pubs and other facilities. After struggling to find affordable but suitable housing, the 3,000 people that lived in the park hill flats felt they had a much better quality of life and made the most of the body of facilities on offer. Park Hill became one of Sheffield's most iconic buildings and residents obtained an enthusiasm about it.

Unfortunately, this positive atmosphere didn't last for long, as the complex acquired a stigma due to high levels of crime including violence and drug abuse. The pubs were brimming with aggression and inhumanity and the area was deemed as a dangerous place. Park Hill was no longer seen as a happy and friendly community, and this combined with the sudden unemployment in the late seventies lead to the estate becoming run down and neglected. It was expected to be demolished or left unwanted, however in 1998, it was listed as a grade II building which was what kept it put until 2004 when developers Urban Splash took over. They aimed to bring back Park Hills friendliness and joy that it was once known for.

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
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My understanding of the Park Hill flats. (2019, Dec 09). Retrieved from

My understanding of the Park Hill flats essay
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