Future High Street Report

The Future Spaces Foundation’s first report tackles the future of the high street. Town centres and high streets have traditionally played a central role in local communities and their changing function has been well-documented in the press, but the Foundation believes that a fresh approach is needed to meaningfully progress this on-going debate. Working with a leading economist The FSF has explored the real value of the high street from a social and an economic view point. Using existing research and economic modelling, in The Future High Street: Perspectives on living, learning and livelihoods in our communities, the FSF discusses likely future trends and works to develop creative solutions and recommendations to rejuvenate the UK’s high streets.

Panel

James Bellini

James Bellini

Futurologist

“The future of work is really about the future of place as increasingly we won’t go to an office every day. When we look at our local assets we’ve got things like pubs, church halls and cafes and they have the potential to be the work hubs of the future.”

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Keith Clarke

Keith Clarke CBE

Built Environment Industry Expert

“There needs to be a connection between education, where you live and where you work; that’s how communities are built.”

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Alan Davey

Alan Davey

Chief Executive, The Arts Council England

“We’ve got more people living alone for various reasons and we’ve also got digital technologies connecting people. What we’ve found in the culture sector is that increased use of technology and availability of stuff digitally has not lessened the desire for convening, for actually seeing something and experiencing it with other people.”

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Emeka Egbuonu

Emeka Egbuonu

Community and Anti-gang Worker and Author

“For many young people, the high street is not just a place to go shopping, it’s a first job. It’s the place where they learn communication skills, how to interact with people, so if that disappears they don’t get that experience.”

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Gavin Kelly

Gavin Kelly

Chief Executive, Resolution Foundation

“It is a challenging time to be thinking creatively about the public sector. Sometimes it takes a crisis to think differently..., but the reality is that the public sector is only just getting used to how bad it is going to be.”

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Steve Lucas

Stephen Lucas

Economist

“The high street can be a hub for activity; business, employment and new enterprises. This can contribute to the health and wellbeing of whole communities, and the creation of employment opportunities.”

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Sean Gillies

Sean Gillies

Executive Director, Retail, Savills

“Most high streets are covered by the use classes order, which was brought in in the 1980s to stop proliferation of financial services, insurance companies and banks expanding into the high street. However, this planning framework doesn’t work for today’s high street.”

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Peter Jones

Dr Peter Jones

Professor of Transport and Sustainability, University College London

“The key thing about high streets is that the activities that are provided there depend very much on people getting there, so movement is crucial to high streets working.”

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Annemarie Naylor

Annemarie Naylor

Director, Common Futures

“Often, top-down regeneration plans don’t consider the lack of skills mix in a particular area so deprived communities are limited to retail-led regeneration proposals from the private sector. We need to think about how we can change this.”

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Ken Shuttleworth

Dr Ken Shuttleworth

Founder, Make Architects, Panel Chairman

“Through our research we want to open a debate about how we can make cycling safe and accessible enough that, as in other cities around the world, it is seen as an efficient and practical way of getting around the city every day for everyone. Initiatives such as the Cycle Superhighways and the ‘Mini-Hollands’ planned for local boroughs are well-intentioned, but these are not enough to encourage everybody in London to see cycling as a genuinely viable commuting option. London’s roads should be open to everyone who wants to cycle, and in this crucial election year, we are calling on the mayoral candidates to put cycling policy at the heart of their manifestos.”

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John Prevc

John Prevc

Partner, Make Architects

“In order to make sure we have a society which is better integrated and more cohesive, the high street has to survive.”

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Andrew Stevenson

Andrew Stevenson

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University

“The shops that are going to survive are those that regard selling products as more than just an exchange and provide consumers with a multi-sensory experience.”

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Paul Swinney

Paul Swinney

Senior Economist, Centre For Cities

“In order to help the high street we actually have to forget retail and focus on the primary drivers of economic activity which are jobs, leisure and residential and from that, opportunities will be created which retailers can then exploit.”

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Video

This report looks beyond short-term, primarily retail-based solutions to explore new, creative ways of reviving the UK high street.