University of Wales Trinity Saint David unveils plans for a Box Village and Innovation Precinct in Swansea's SA1


Plans for a Box Village and Innovation Precinct in Swansea’s SA1, have been unveiled by University of Wales Trinity Saint David as part of its £300million new SA1 Swansea Waterfront development

box village swansea sa1 artist's impression

The exciting project is based on the idea of converting shipping containers to provide flexible, affordable space for start-up companies bringing students, academics and businesses together to share expertise to explore new ideas for growth.  The idea has been used widely around the world, including, most recently in Croydon, Elephant and Castle and Brixton in London, where this novel approach to building design has been used effectively to promote and stimulate creativity, communication and collaboration between the occupiers. 

Serving as a catalyst for the long term economic development of the region, the scheme will also enrich the student experience at UWTSD, with direct connections to industry that will enhance their employability and provide them with the entrepreneurial and business skills they need to start their careers.

Major investment in digital infrastructure is at the heart of the Swansea Bay City Region's 'Internet Coast' bid to the UK Government for a City Deal, which is worth an estimated £500million to the regional economy over the next 20 years.

An integral part of that bid is ‘The Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District Project’, which aims to create a vibrant and sustainable city centre that facilitates the growth of higher value activities (particularly technology businesses) and acts as a key driver for the regional economy. Positioned as a first phase of the City Deal initiative, it will provide the launch pad for ‘Digital Quarters’ across the region. University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s proposed Box Village and Innovation Precinct will complement and help to successfully drive forward that vision.

The University’s Box Village, a phased 20,000 square metre development,  will consist of a series of pavilions (Hubs), each with a particular focus linking directly with aspects of the University’s academic programme and creating ‘communities of practice’ bringing students, academics and businesses together to explore ideas and create opportunities for the development of new businesses, products and services.

A Creative Industries Hub, for example, will serve a thriving community of creative-industries businesses with a particular emphasis on music and performing arts.  A Health & Well-being Centre will provide a focus for a wide range of health and well-being related activities with community facilities proposed including a pharmacy and GP surgery that will also provide a student health service to the University and a fitness centre.

A Sport & Fitness Hub will provide a Sports Hall with associated support spaces that can also be used to accommodate a range of University and community events.

Catering, retail outlets and events spaces throughout Box Village will provide opportunities for the communities to meet and share ideas as well as providing a new leisure destination for the University and the wider Swansea community.

Once a business has grown enough to exceed the space provided in the Box Village, it can then be accommodated in the Business Innovation Precinct, which will be purposefully designed as a mixed-use building to bring together the academic support of the University’s Faculty of Business and Management (and the adjacent Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering) with the business innovation of SMEs.

box village artist's impression 2

The University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront is to create a neighbourhood with academic activity at its core to attract companies to collocate with the University to exploit knowledge, develop skills, support existing companies and attract new investment into the region.

Phase 1 of the £300 million development has already commenced to create a new facility for the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, as well as new library facilities.  In addition, the University has made significant investment in SA1 through the purchase of the two Technium buildings, as well as the Cyprium Building, which are home to a range of private companies, a number of whom are already collaborating with the university to develop new products and processes.  

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said: “Box Village and the Innovation Precinct will enable us to further exploit knowledge and expertise to create new enterprise hubs and high skill accelerator schemes to grow new businesses linked to our portfolio, develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.  Through such activities the University will create new opportunities for employment, helping to generate more footfall and spending in the city centre and to retain some of the brightest entrepreneurial talents from within the UWTSD Group in the region; ensuring that we are investing in our home grown talent to our mutual benefit.”

Further Information

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