Ten questions every town team should ask about their high street
the high street: ten questionsevery town team should ask
Q1just what do we mean by the high street anyway?
‘The days of a high streetpopulated simply by independentbutchers, bakers and candlestick makers are, except in the mostexceptional circumstances, over.’ Mary Portas, December 2011
Q2what are our high streets for? how do they relate to the wider area?
‘No two town centres or high streets are the same. As a result,the way in which they are affected by and respond to change is diverse and varied.’ Genecon, Understanding High Street Performance, December 2011
‘As the hub of our communities,the high street could become the place where we begin to build a more sustainable world.’ new economics foundation, Re-imagining the High Street, 2010
Q3what’s happening to our high streets and why?
‘There is a concern that the High Street shopping environment to which society has grownaccustomed... is changing and we are not sure whether we will likeeither how it will change or what it will be changed to.’ John Dawson, 1988
‘25% of high street and shoppingcentre leases are due to expire by 2013 and 50% by 2015... the next24 months are likely to see a swift and dramatic playing out of this polarisation.’ Jones Lang LaSalle, January 2012
Q4what do people really love to do in our high streets?
‘If you asked people 20 years ago why they came into the city, theywould have said it was to shop. Butif you ask them today, they wouldsay it was because they wanted to go into town.’ Jan Gehl, Cities for People
‘High streets and town centres thatare fit for the 21st century need to be multifunctional social centres, not simply competitors for stretched consumers.’ The 21st Century Agora: a new and better vision for town centres
‘The public sector alone cannot create vibrant high streets, however hard they try... togethereverybody is going to have to give a little bit to help our high streets to be vibrant and successful.’ Mary Portas, December 2011
Q6what are our responsibilities for the high street?
‘Placemaking... requirescommunity members to be at thecentre of planning. The outcome has to be theirs.’ Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces, September 2011
Q7 do our actions deal withsymptoms or with causes?
‘This place would be a lot morepopular if it wasn’t so crowded.’ Anonymous, Durham
Q8do we have the tools to helpus adapt to global change?
‘We are liquidating the earth’s natural resources to fuel our consumption. Half of us live incountries where water tables arefalling... soil erosion exceeds soil formation on one third of the world’s cropland...’ Lester Brown, World on the Edge, 2011
Q9do we have the will to adapt to global change?
‘The UK is already vulnerable to severe weather, including flooding and heatwaves. Continued action is needed to manage these risks...’ Defra, UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012
Q10will we let bad things happenbecause we lack the courage to insist on good things?
‘In the UK, the free-standing,car-based, food superstore is now the hegemonic retail format.’ Hallsworth et al, 2010
four ways of thinking aboutgetting the town centres we want: 1 Footfall 2 Satisfaction 3 Diversity 4 Economic activity
& ﬁnay what steps will get us fromhere to there... and will therebe a ‘there’ when we arrive?
thank you more from me... www.urbanpollinators.co.uk my blog: Living with Rats Twitter: @juliandobson