Knowledge Corridor


Hugo Villalobos
Saran Nakwi-Chanon


The relationship between education, knowledge, and economy

Official discourse in the United Kingdom and many other OECD countries emphasizes education and training as a vehicle for social inclusion and economic growth (RUSSELL, Lisa 2012)1

The aim of this project is to propose design solutions for higher education centres in synergy with the local council and young entrepreneurs to contribute to the economy and society as a whole in Galashiels and the borders area by providing new, dynamic and flexible infrastructure to locate business generation projects


The Issue

The relationship between schooling and economic well-being, mediated by the need for education and the acquisition of knowledge, has never been more important. It is an expanding relationship, the importance of which is overtly recognised by government and practitioners in today’s knowledge-intensive, postproduction economy. 2

Statistics from the Scotland census has shown that from the 10,559 persons from 16-74 years living in Galashiels the lowest attained qualification is at level 3, this means that higher education is somehow lacking from the importance it should have in its local context. Around 40% have decided to pursue another alternatives before finishing a higher education degree (Source

From the 434 registered industries In Galashiels (15 categories), and the 42 Higher education courses (9 categories) offered in Borders college (34courses) and HW University (8 courses). There is a considerable gap between learning/knowledge and the generation of local work.

It is also a known fact that students are not engaged in the community´s daily life and are left out from most of the local options. It is not surprise that after graduation they do not find many reasons to stay in town.

Both Ms. Sue Thomas from HW University and Peter Gilchrist from HWU Students Union agreed on the existing disconnection between community and students and the urgent need for a stronger identity for the town. In other words, there is a steady need for resilient and cohesion between the actors of education and society in general. Ms Heather Ross from Edinburgh University and Mr Kevin Ryalls from Galashiels Academy, pointed out the need to look to the potential of graduates students in starting business generation projects.

Galashiels needs the infrastructure to offer a place to make industry, and avoid brain drain; young entrepreneurs, local community and University departments have to come closer together in an attempt to strengthen relationships and bring back to Galashiels a vibrant and creative workforce.


Case Studies

RGU : Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen


The Business Services at RGU is institution which places importance on developing skills and knowledge for business. Their business support includes courses or short course training and Competency and Capability Assurance. Another area that the Business Services focus on is working in close collaboration with industry and the professions, the RGU also add value to business by developing and delivering customised Training and Development Solutions. (

The Business Services at the RGU is also committed to knowledge creation, innovation in order to bring new ways of working that will help business prosper and have a positive impact on local economies. More over, the RGU offers a range of consultancy interventions from Training Needs Analyses, Brainstorming and Innovation Audits to Contract Research and Business Simulation exercises. In addition, it provides consultancy relating to the maintenance of a productive and healthy workfoce and working environment.

  • Training and Development
  • Research for business
  • Consultancy
  • Recruiting graduates
  • Energy courses
  • Health and Social Care


NCUB : The National Centre for Universities and Business


The National Centre for Universities and Business is an organisation that promates, develops ans supports university-business collaboration across the UK. NCUB work with member organisations who are leader in business and universities of all mission groups. The aim of NCUB is to find the talent being developed in universities for the benefit of the nation’s economy by bringing together key individuals from business and universities. However, the main focus is on particular economic sectors or issues. (

NCUB brings Task Forces and Leadership Council in two priority project areas:

  • Talent: nurturing the development of the talent to the workplace and into leadership roles.
  • Innovation: making the expertise, ideas and research that can achieve commercial value for the UK accessible to business.

NCUB also works as a student support centre in order to help them get a placement and advice.

  • Get a job
  • Get advice
  • Get talking
  • Get a placement



This radar diagram shows the common working areas of RGU and NCUB, which both are mostly focus on Training and Development, Consultancy and collaboration between university and business engagement. It is also interesting that the RGU give an importance to health issues in order to improve health of employees, promote wellness and improve staff retention and productivity.


The Thames Path National trail, London 

The South Bank is a significant arts and entertainment district located in center of London. In 1951 hosted the Festival of Britain, who proposed the name for the project to regenerate this area after the war. Now it is a dynamic core with numerous theaters, art galleries and concert halls, important buildings and cultural institutions.

KNOW-image-9The pedestrian walkway along the banks of river Thames is about 4.5 miles long. Several bridges are not only connected London’s most popular tourist and visitor attractions but also link many shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries and theatres together from London Bridge to South Bank.

The concept behind this project is an inspiration and a very clear example of an economic lift up of an area. The same basic principles but in a smaller scale can be adapted in Knowledge Corridor, Galashiels between city centre and university area in order to regenerate river walk and education hubs.


Green River Brateevo
By OKRA Landscape Architects


The aim of this project is to develop a toolkit for sustainable green development and also improve the quality of existing public spaces. In adition, to develop new areas on sustainable way could create new economic, social and environmental value.

The main idea is to use green and blue structure link to urban community and make the identity stronger by create attractive connections in order to upgrade public network. Footpath and cyclist connections are also used to connect and balance between slow and fast traffic.


The poor quality of some areas is one of the key that need to develop in this project. The strategy is to change the central strip by using new metro connection in order to transform this area to a new development.

On the medium scale public realm can be improved by changing the parking facilities to the eastern riverside. Creating a low rise car park, having a public roof and sports facilitates on top will fulfill the need of areas for sports combined with the need of parking cars.

On the large scale the green areas offer a potential for new recreational use. Planting of the wide streets, will also contribute to create better access to the recreational green areas.





New Riverfront Office
By Fletcher Crane Architects


know-image-19The design approach is to give local business a wider presence throughout the region. The proposed waterfront cafe on site, along with the retention of the existing restaurant will complement the business hub providing an alternative venue for meeting, networking and relaxing.

The proposals provide a section of the building as a local business support hub and social meeting space. The intention is that by providing a visual focus to the area local businesses will be able to utilize the premises for networking, entertaining and improved identity. Another key aspect is to deliver new public space for the city.





The Central Delaware Riverfront


This project presents opportunities to enhance the riverfront that could be transformative for the city in the future. The project, first, analise movement network by studying hierakhy of streets that effect to the riverfront location. The intent is to create a continous waterfront trial. Nodes, which is Franklin Bridge, provide starting points, rental stations and places to rest along the trail. Boulevard is another space that can support mix-use development by creating a new park connecting to the water and vibrant street life.




The mass-transportation networks are designed to provide connection along the length of the river. The civic vision also recommended that transit stops should be located every quater mile to provide serviceto each neighborhood along the riverfront.

Reconstruction Options The consultant team and city agencies worked together to generate reconstruction in the future after the main road need to replace by new development.

Picture left shows a short-term scenario that could redevelop mix-use area along the riverfront and parking area.





The Proposal

Galashiels need to retain its graduates to increase economic growth through business generation and its supporting services.

Our proposal attempts to bring together education, business and the local community so “the economy can profit from an interchange of ideas, and if necessary disturb the even tenor of established practice”3


This proposed project not only help to avoid brain drain by offering infrastructure (Work space, physical HUBs and workshops facilities) and programmes (startups, incubators, and IDEA Labs) but also retain talent and knowledge in order to reinvest business generation in this local community.


A series of small buildings with different functions, together with a “river walk” will bring through an innovation park that gather student centre, workshop facilities, small startup offices, and exhibition spaces we are looking for the regeneration of an area in town that right now is lacking of connection and character: the university corridor, which connect the University to Galashiels downtown The closeness of the river is a major asset that we believe must be used as part of the project; both for its cultural and historical heritage and for its natural beauty



The Location



The selected area connects the main higher education center to Galashiels downtown, distance. 1.2 miles from Border College to City centre. Due to the closeness to the river, public park and access to main roads, the space lies in a privileged geographical position to address the construction of a series of buildings supporting the programme of an innovation park.

Four vacant locations along the Gala Water
(View1) A 0.5 acre site located between Huddersfield Street and Gala Water

The series of location itself is work as a linkage between educational community and Galashiels city centre. The Gala Water and proposed River Walk also link local networks together. This also will encourage local business to generate themselves to a new corridor for Galashiels.




A series of small buildings with different functions, together with a river walk will bring together an innovation park that gather student centres, workshop facilities, small startup offices, exhibition spaces, public recreational spaces and new green areas
The “university corridor” connects the University to Galashiels downtown. It is a strategic geographic point that represent the old industry flourising back in the 60-70, and nowadays this area has become the only intersection of University and Galashiels´ downtown. The regeneration of this key area in town that right now is lacking of connections; , will bring closer local community, the university community and the future industry.
New sources of employment, recreational spaces and efective transport networks, will work together to make Galashiels an actractive place to stay and start building industry. The closeness of the river is a major asset that we believe must be used as part of the project, both for its cultural and historical heritage and for its natural beauty



 The Programme

A serie of small buildings, each one with specific uses “Each person and each group of people and buildings, work as a nodal point, and the trajectories through different horizons initiate communication networks which go through the different strata of the social structure of the city. Navigating from person to person, through the different strata, another map of the city appears – a map of relations, of networks,of soft structures that maintain an identity, but acting as seed for
the nextstate of development ”


know-image-22SITE 1 BUSINESS

The programme in this building is commercial. Besides the facilities of the train station the rest is a cafe a small shop and restaurant.

Ticket area
Shop / Cafe



Users : Students
Serves as an inspirational place for students to meet, study, make social connections and exchange ideasment ”
University’s Collaborative platform Would you like to work/study independently? Area’s only pay-by-the-day studio. Or purchase a semester pass and experience the community atmosphere of working at your own pace alongside other inventive friends.

Users : everyone
Small Business Development and Community Projects, Book stores, cafes, restaurants. Rental spaces with commercial purposes.

3.WORK Spaces
Users : Young entrepeneurs
Incubators/ Start-ups/ IDEA labs
A business incubator is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. Business incubators differ from research and technology parks in their dedication to startup and early-stage companies.

Users : Students, local community, startup
Galleries, art studios
Multi-media studio and galleries open to inspired individuals, and reflect a variety of interests and abilities. The studios are set up for classes and exhibitions Space for cultural and artistic activities to be identified and developed.


 Sustainable Strategies

Natural day light

Galashiels, Scottish Borders, 55.61 ° N / 2.80 ° W


Optimized window sizing allows for natural daylight without comprimising the energy efficiency through a series of windows, clear roofs and open spaces the building receives generous amount of sunlight.



Use of water for energy generation


Energy proposition, the site will use water from the stream to generate part of the electricity required for the buildings. Once the water is used will be returned to the stream and continue its way to the Tweed river. The idea is to raise awareness of the water as a vital resource for Galashiels by putting it in the center of recreational and work activities. Water recycle and “water engine” for generate electricity together with facilities open to the public and an underground local educational and attraction centre.




1 Lisa Russella , Robin Simmonsa* & Ron Thompsona . Conceptualising the lives of NEET young people: structuration theory and ‘disengagement’ pages 89-106. Published online: 18 May 2012

2 Alec Wersuna*Open to change: knowledge transfer policy reception in a new university in Scotland. Published online: 18 May 2012

3 Kelly, Anthony (ed.) (2007) Education, knowledge and economy, Routledge,. ‘NCUB | National Centre For Universities & Business’. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.,. ‘Business Services | Robert Gordon University (RGU) Aberdeen Scotland’. N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


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