What is Without Walls?

For many people, York is a great place to live and the city has many assets. But what sort of place do we want York to be in the future? Is enough being done to make the best use of our assets for everyone’s benefit? And how can we build upon the city’s distinctiveness to improve it still further?

With a healthy economy and low unemployment, York compares well when measured against other British cities. There are now huge opportunities for the city that will shape the next thirty years. As well as these there are challenges such as congestion, rising house prices and skills shortages which we need to deal with in order to remain competitive

‘Without Walls’ is a group of people who are working together to develop a shared vision and look at ways to improve quality of life for people in the city. This partnership is made up of representatives of public, voluntary and business organisations in York.  Partners include the police, council, health, voluntary agencies and local businesses.

The result of their work is the Strategy for York, based around seven ‘themes’ - areas we want to concentrate on to improve the quality of life for everyone in the city over the next twenty years or so.

The themes are:

  • A Sustainable City
  • A Thriving City
  • A Learning City
  • A City Of Culture
  • A Safer City
  • A Healthy City
  • An Inclusive City

Without Walls have also produced an action plan addressing a more immediate time span.  The City Action Plan examines the Strategy for York's aims and intentions in the four years to 2015.

The Vision

The Partnership launched the first Strategy for York in July 2004 following widespread consultation, in what was called a 'Festival of Ideas'.  Hundreds of people gave their views about the kind of York they wanted to see in the future.  Comments gathered were used to produce the first strategy, which included a promise to review it regularly to make sure it remained relevant.

The strategy was recently updated by Without Walls for the third time.  Although the vision for the city has remained constant as:

Making our mark by:
  •     building confident, healthy and inclusive communities
  •     being a leading environmentally-friendly city
  •     being at the forefront of innovation with a diverse and thriving economy
  •     being a world class centre for culture, education and learning for all
  •     celebrating our historic past whilst creating a successful and ambitious future

In order to ensure York is always an attractive place to live, work and visit, the partnership has also identified six strategic ambitions that incude:

  1. Improve the physical and cultural environment of the city as a basis for community and economic development.
  2. Keep York's employment levels high and economy buoyant by supporting local employers, entrepreneurship, developing a diverse  and sustainable economy and balanced employment structure.
  3. Maintain community cohesion and develop strong, supportive and durable communities.
  4. Ensure the process of physical development is used to improve the environmental sustainability of the city, and that growth accommodates the challenges of climate change and other built and natural environmental challenges.
  5. Use York's brand and position to promote the city within the regional, national and global network.
  6. Encourage partnerships within the city and beyond that benefit everyone and achieve mutual advantage.

In response to the opportunities and challenges facing the city, Without Walls has identified three immediate partnership priorities that are critical to address in order to secure York's future.

Partnership Priorities to 2015

  • Enabling Growth
  • Creating the environment for growth
  • Sharing Growth

The following pages explain who will take the lead in making improvements and what you can do to help.

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