Liverpool’s next chapter: Telling the story

As transformative new developments such as Paddington Village and Liverpool Waters begin to define the city, GVA’s Stephen Cowperthwaite discusses why at this pivotal phase of development, we need to start to re-tell the story of Liverpool.

Liverpool Waters
Computer-generated image of the remodelled £5bn Liverpool Waters project


Moving ‘brand Liverpool’ forward

For many, Liverpool’s identity is synonymous with The Beatles and its two football teams, but the huge regeneration projects taking place across the city signal a potential for change. Its rich cultural heritage will always be a part of the city, and rightly so, but the most successful global cities respect their past, while looking firmly to the future, in terms of both development and identity.

Liverpool is at a remarkable point in its history, with so many major developments being delivered simultaneously across the city region. The face of Liverpool is no doubt changing, and the way the city is branded will inevitably change with that.

We need to tell new stories of the city through transformative schemes such as Knowledge Quarter and Liverpool Waters, stories that make Liverpool world-renowned for life sciences and outstanding waterfronts, readying ‘brand Liverpool’ for the future. 

Capital of Culture – Liverpool’s legacy

Liverpool’s 2008 Capital of Culture title was a catalyst for transformation and its impact is still felt today. This provided a springboard for Liverpool to re-join the world stage in many sectors, and the legacy that followed 2008 helped to create a new identity for the city too.

With it came an influx of visitors and significant investment that sparked multiple regeneration projects, building upon the success of Liverpool One, changing the face of Liverpool’s city centre forever.

This year marks 10 years since the opening of Liverpool One and Liverpool being named Capital of Culture. No-one can deny the effect of this legacy upon the city but a decade passing reminds us that we cannot rest on our laurels.

Throughout history, Liverpool has continually evolved, as has its identity and brand, and with the city going through something of a renaissance right now, the way it is marketed to visitors and investors, as well as to locals, is changing once again. 

The changing face of Liverpool

The current renaissance, and shift in identity, is being driven by several major projects, some of which will see whole new districts and parts of the city evolve. These include the Knowledge Quarter, Liverpool and Wirral Waters and Circus, the redevelopment of the Lewis’ building.

Paddington Village, the £1bn focal point of the Knowledge Quarter, will be a place where life sciences research and development thrives, boasting state-of-the-art workspaces and world-class laboratories, as well as hotel, residential and retail space that will establish a new urban village.

Stephen Cowperthwaite of commercial property consultancy GVA


While Circus will act as a gateway connecting Liverpool Central station to the Lime Street area and up towards the Knowledge Quarter. 

The city’s waterfront is also experiencing dramatic change, as the £5bn Liverpool Waterfront regeneration programme is set to add 2m sq ft of new housing, public space and places to work. The 30-year vision draws on Liverpool’s past identity and heritage, taking it forward into the future, allowing the city to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Hamburg.

Across the Mersey, the Wirral Waters regeneration plans reflect the ambitions of its neighbour, reinventing Wirral through hubs for creative industries, up to 13,000 new homes, and a waterfront that rivals that of Liverpool.

Join the conversation

It was recently revealed that over the last 20 years, Liverpool has been the fastest growing city in England outside of London. There’s already a growing number of national and international investors taking an interest in Liverpool and now’s the time for us to really make sure that we are communicating our strengths.

On May 31 and June 1, place branding experts from across the globe are converging on Liverpool for ‘Place Branding: It’s not about the logo’, a conference in which the pivotal role of marketing in making a successful town or city will be explored.

At GVA, we’re passionate about successful cities and how they tell their stories, which is why we decided to get involved. The event is being brought to the city by Swedish cloud-based consultancy, Up There, Everywhere, and where better to host it than in Liverpool?

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