(All images by the Bear Pit Improvement Group, reproduced with permission)
Once a place you might hurry through without making eye contact with anyone, the Bear Pit in Bristol, UK, is undergoing a rapid transformation thanks to a local team who have dubbed themselves the Bear Pit Improvement Group. Vibrant street art, local vendors and outdoor games have all been set up to change the grim subway passage into somewhere Bristolians want to visit.
“The Bear Pit has the potential to be a space which people rush to… and not rush through!” says the team on their website. “The idea is to bring a new lease of life into the space.”
Short-term plans have included cafe carts and kiosks providing food and drink for those passing through, as well as local noticeboards, subway art and even an outdoor library.
Long-term changes involve the development of the whole area, with new road surface crossings improving access to the pit. The site has also been considered for use as an amphitheater, potentially staging events to attract new people to visit the area.
1960s subway passages were introduced in Britain as a clever and safe way for pedestrians to get around the city. Unfortunately, the seclusion they provided meant an increase in crime and nowadays many people prefer to use overground traffic crossings. The work happening on Bristol’s Bear Pit is regenerating an area formerly seen as dangerous and unpleasant and, hopefully, the project will spur other cities to do the same – click here for more information.