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For the last decade, the role of UK Town Centres has shifted significantly, with far-reaching and diverse expectations. Once the beating heart of high streets across the country, now they face ever-increasing challenges impacting how we live, work, communicate and connect.
The impact of Covid, an ever-increasing demand for housing, a drive for sustainable buildings and the rise of vacant retail stores are just a few of the issues we continue to face. Over the next year, we will be debating these (and many more) across 6 themes with our colleagues and clients to understand where we can make a difference and address change.
"transport hubs and connectivity are integral to the urban environment" Stephanie Barnes, Partner and Head of Client Strategy
transport (CURRENT THEME)
Transport links have been a driving issue across the UK to improve accessibility and widespread connectivity to areas of living, working and socialising. There is a need for a creative way to look at the challenges faced – what is the role of train stations? How do we deliver schemes attached to the network? How do we utilise the land around transport hubs, and what is the cost of congestion in the centres?
In a video case study, we explore with Network Rail how, with our stations, we can drive initiatives forward and ensure our towns and cities of tomorrow are futureproofed through regeneration, placemaking, movement of goods and sustainability.
This is the third in our Towns of Tomorrow video series campaign 👇
Transport is our current theme for October-December. Subscribe for updates.
retail & leisure (April-JUNE 23)
As we continue to adapt post-pandemic and post-Brexit, the future of retail faces a number of challenges in order to continue to survive. The ongoing impact of online shopping on brick and mortar, the importance of flexibility of space and leasing models as well as the role of the night-time economy are just some of the areas as we look at how people live and play in our communities.
Retail & Leisure was our key theme for April/May. Here’s what you missed.
Theme lead – Tim Hayns
healthcare (JUly-SEPTEMBER 23)
After first successfully exploring the role of Retail & Leisure in our Towns of Tomorrow, including the launch of our Sheffield City Centre case study, we turned our focus to the Healthcare sector and the role it plays in the future of UK’s Town Centres.
Healthcare is an increasing concern and a vital service for local communities. With an ageing population, we must review our approach to how health services are delivered and the importance of integrated health on the high street.
Below, we are delighted to share our Health on the High Street” roundtable video as part of the Healthcare focus of our campaign. This engaging discussion delves into the UK High Street’s decline and the potential avenues it opens up for the Healthcare sector.
Theme lead – Bhavini Shah
living (January 24)
The growth of Build to Rent, the repurposing of retail buildings to residential and the impact of hybrid working has changed the dynamic of future developments. Changing social attitudes has impacted our living model in town centres and cities and how people interact with the space.
Theme lead – Kate Brennan
work (ongoing theme)
The pandemic has been the biggest catalyst to changing our working patterns in a generation, and as businesses continue to adapt, the future of work in our towns and cities continues to evolve. Gone are the days of traditional office space and occupancy. Greater pressure is placed on mixed-use development, the need to meet sustainability EPC credentials, access to transport links and demand for housing (yet a fine balance with necessary local employment) – are a few of the many issues facing our town centres.
Theme lead – Tom Paton-Smith
sustainability (ongoing theme)
The issue of sustainability touches all aspects of the built environment. From the places we live and visit, to where we work, the services we use and the environment we enjoy. Our town centres present an important role in driving forward much-needed improvements across all aspects of the ESG agenda.
Theme lead – Jon Bradburn
Please get involved and join us in unlocking the opportunities in the Towns of Tomorrow.
By Montagu Evans