BRADFORD should draw on its youth and diversity to transform and regenerate its city centre.

This is one of the findings of a national group of architects - who looked at the city as part of a study into the best ways to improve the country's urban areas.

Bradford was one of five case study areas in the Royal Institute of British Architects's 40 page Future Place report, which has just been published.

The report suggests that it is important that any economic redevelopment is accompanied by improvements to public space and infrastructure.

National experts will help Bradford “look and feel a bit smarter.”

On Bradford, the report says: "Born out of the industrial revolution, Bradford has a rich cultural and architectural heritage and a city centre that is ripe for regeneration.

"Bradford is also home to the youngest population in England; and has space for redevelopment and growth within its urban footprint as well as opportunities to repurpose buildings.

"The City of Bradford District Council has a strong vision to transform the city centre by creating new homes and economic opportunities: to attract and retain young and diverse communities, and enable new and sustainable ways of living.

"Recognising that creativity and innovation are most powerful when ideas from different groups of people come together, the city is looking to find new ways to draw on the youth – and diversity – of its population.

"Bradford city centre is full of character and potential, with a unique architectural heritage, including many listed buildings, and its dramatic topography at the junction of three valleys combined with diverse social and cultural assets. These assets and legacy offer much scope to reconfigure the city footprint and repurpose buildings for the needs of both the present and future.

"Drawing on Bradford’s people asset – and human capital – is pivotal to bringing new and relevant thinking to the design of the city’s future."

Suggestions on how to keep the people of Bradford involved in the development of the city include the setting up of an "urban room" - a city centre unit where members of the public can meet to discuss plans and developments with Council staff.

The report says the Council should involve the public in plans to re-design the Top of Town area of the city centre as an "urban village" and to create a "Southern Gateway" to the city in preparation for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Other areas used as case studies in the report are Exeter, Gateshead, Great Yarmouth and North Northamptonshire.

The report says the study "has recognised the role of placemaking as the new lens through which growth and regeneration must be viewed to enable local solutions to the critical issues facing settlements, towns and cities across the country.

"What is certain is that people retain a need to congregate and enjoy collective experiences, lived locally. So while many retail business models are in a state of crisis at present, care must be taken not to foreclose on the potential of our high streets and town centres to fulfil their critical role of bringing people together to live, meet, trade, work and play, and to do so on a sustainable basis, accessed by foot, bike and public transport."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “The Toolkit will help the Council engage with Bradford’s communities, particularly its young people, and builds on their ideas, creativity and passion in shaping the future vision and realising the potential of the city centre to deliver innovative, ground-breaking projects.

"Enabling local people to be at the heart of transforming their community will ensure long lasting, meaningful change and the creation of a place that is for everyone.”

Si Cunningham - chair of Bradford Civic Society, said: “We welcome the RIBA’s interest in Bradford, and hope that it will lead to much higher standards of design and planning as the city centre continues to develop.

“The Civic Society recently formed a new Place Panel – a group of people with expertise in areas like architecture, urban design and environmental matters – and they are working as critical friends to the council and developers on a number of different projects.

“Whatever happens to Bradford city centre over the coming years, the most important thing is that people are properly consulted. It seems that a lot of this report is focussed on encouraging better public consultation, which can only be a good thing.”