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Stories in the Sky

The Stories in the Sky: Digital Placemaking, is a collaboration between the University of York, and the Residents’ Association of Park Hill, in Sheffield, and is funded by UKRI. Together we built an app to be used during the tours of Park Hill. This app is tablet based, and allows visitors to the site access to archival images and videos, while walking through the historically rich site.

See what Park Hill looked like when it was originally built in the late 1950s to early 1960s, and have a look into the Park Hill way of life.

How did the ‘Streets in the Skies’ function, and how have they changed over time?

Understand the ever-changing nature of Park Hill, from its inception to its current state of redevelopment.

Here’s what Dave from the Residents’ Association had to say about the project:

“In Autumn 2019 Josie from the University of York and Joe with XR Stories came to Park Hill with an idea to create an immersive storytelling project. Park Hill in Sheffield has a unique and interesting history and has been the subject of much research. 


We residents get a good number of enquiries from academics each year but from the outset this project stood out. Josie brought with her the idea of an augmented or virtual reality app but otherwise came with an open mind and did a good deal of listening over many weeks.


We run a good number of Tours at Park Hill every year. We get architects from all over the world, modernists, there is a lot of local interest also. We also get visits from schools – we are on the syllabus for GCSE geography as an example of urban regeneration. So the decision was made to design an app which we could use on these tours. 


The idea is that as you walk the streets at each location the app will show you images and clips of interest especially of life as it was, but also of the insides of the flats as they are – very useful since we cannot always provide flats to view. Anyway it is a lovely app to use and the footage that has been sourced is also lovely. Sadly as I write it is May 2020 and we are not running tours to test it on but are exploring the possibility that the app could be used by schools as a virtual tour during the pandemic. “


With thanks to Sheffield Libraries and Archives, and UrbanSplash, for providing historical resources.

Website created by Josie Wallace, with thanks to Joe Empsall for providing the Short History of Park Hill.