IDEAS

Ideas and inspiration for struggling high streets and town centres.

Ideas from around the country, continent and world that may provide a little inspiration - given the recession, the focus is on low cost, high impact ideas that do not rely on huge government subsidy.





Town Centres and High Streets - the solution to nearly everything!

This is our biggest idea. Engage local local decision makers in your (probably) failing local high street in the idea that high streets hold the key to many of the challenges we face in today's society. Briefly:

Economy - the 21st century economy belongs to the knowledge and 'creative' economies. The best workers in this sector do not want to work on bland business parks but in mixed use and diverse town centres fizzing with a unique mix of history, culture, coffee shops and more.

Homes - the shortage of homes for a growing UK population is being restricted in the country side and green belt whilst our town centres are struggling to survive on existing demand leaking to the internet. A 'densification' of these centres through progressive planning policies allowing more upper residential floors combined with a changing ground floor offer away from destintation and comparison shopping in favour of local and convenience shops will provide homes and:

  • Community - more local residents living in low to mid rise housing with a successful local centre nearby have proven themselves to be the most attractive places to live from the inner suburbs of Paris, to London's 'village' centres and places such as Clifton in Bristol, Morningside in Edinburgh etc
  • Sustainability - developing more homes in centres that have existing public transport infrastructure already in place and are probably in walking or cycling distance of employment opportunities mitigates car use and makes...
  • Transport unnecessary in terms of the car and/or provides more users of public transport thus making it more viable and regular.

100 Ways to help a high street

'Cluster' - Strategies and Approaches

Collaboration and Cooperation for High Streets and Town Centres

Creative Placemaking - ie do art and change a place... these guys know their stuff. Also ArtPlace, this blog, and some toolkits.

Happiness - studies show denser city living makes for happier healthier people

Macro collaboration ideas for high streets...and shop collaborations here here

Tangible Turnaround - Melbourne's centre went from 'empty and useless' to world's most liveable city and halved local property taxes in a decade

TED videos on the biggest thinkers on cities and place making. More video gold from the Congress for New Urbanism

Walkable catchments or 'pedsheds', the multiple benefits of increasing housing densities.

Wealth generation - research shows our urban centres measure 20% in terms of area but 80% in terms of wealth generation


And finally - a good high is worth 20% on house values - a useful argument to get landlords to invest in the high street

Really finally - for the real keenies that get through the above - 180+ short videos on urban design from the smartest thinkers

As in the pseudoscience of bloodletting, just so in the pseudoscience of city rebuilding and planning, years of learning and a plethora of subtle and complicated dogma have arisen on a foundation of nonsense. (Jane Jacobs)