Have the reports of the high street’s “death” been greatly exaggerated?We will dissect the hysteria around the so-called decline of the high street (stating that this has been a problem that recurs throughout the last 100 years). We suggest that success is bound up in spatial adaptability. We can also show some of the key findings of how this adaptability can be observed both in how the network connectivity changes over time and how land uses shift in their pattern over time. The talk will be illustrated with the project’s recent work on historic business directories, in which we populate space syntax maps and historic Ordnance Survey maps with land uses over four epochs.
Quality Streetscapes - April 2012
Activity and adaptability: have reports of thehigh street’s death been exaggerated?Responding to changingmovement, living, working and leisure patternsProfessor Laura Vaughan, Ashley Dhanani & Ruthie CarlisleSurbiton, Claremont Road c1914. Courtesy http://postcardsthenandnow.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/surbiton-surrey-claremont-road-c1914.html
Cities are very complex systems, but they grow from a simple idea: they arelarge dense aggregates of buildings linked by space. The space takes the formof a linear network, which we call a town plan or street network.
Not just retail: the high street as a generator ofsocio-economic diversity – By-product activity Business meeting Catching a train/bus/tubeOf 199 survey respondents: Coffee/tea/drink Do nothing/ hanging out• 46% were shopping Doctors/hospital/dentist Eat• 86% of shoppers were Univariate Bar Chart Split By: activity Get money Row exclusion: shoppers.svd Go for a w alkcombining with another activity 25 Gym/leisure centre/sports Library• Most common combinations: 11 Live here 10 – Coffee/tea/drink 8 Meet family/friends On school lunch break total count – Going for a walk 6 Park/allotments/recreation ground• Every-day activities 5 Passing through 4 Pay bills• Interdependence, 3 2 Post a letter Post officeby-product activities 1 Pub/bar School/college/university Observations Take children to/from nursery/playschool Take children to/from school Visit family/friends Wait for family/friends Walk the dog Window shop Work here
Surbiton High Street Activity from 1869 to 2012 (inset: South Norwood stats for same period) "Third Space" (cafes, takeaways, pubs etc.* “Third Place”120% Offices & Commerce (e.g. Offices and Commerce solicitors, hairdressers, photographers Industry (workshops, storage, builders’ merch. etc. Industry100% Community Services Community (Education, Health, Religious, Leisure) Retail (shops, shop+production, banks etc Retail80% 120%60% 100% 80%40% 60% 40%20% 20% 0% 1869 1915 1956 2012 0% 1876 1915 1956 2012 n= 190 n= 165 n= 196 n= 240 * Oldenberg (1999) The Great Good Place. The importance of informal public gathering places.