Reclaiming the High Street

As our contribution to London Festival of Architecture 2019 we held the second discussion panel on the High Street in the 21st Century and the changes required to reshape and repurpose and the town centre. This is even more relevant in 2020 as Covid has wreaks further devastation to shops, restaurants and services on the high street and we believe the next big challenge in a world where Covid is managed in much the same way as 'flu, will be behavioural change - to what degree will people return to the town centre for work, for shopping, for socialisation?

The discussion was chaired by Phil Wren -  the points raised by our panel in 2019 are relevant to that debate going forward.


Panel Guests were: 

Deborah Efemini - Director at DECK Social


Laura Vaughan - Professor of Urban Form & Society at Bartlett School of Architecture  


Steve Norris - National Head of Planning, Development and Regeneration at Lambert Smith Hampton 


Adam Parker - Director at Greig & Stephenson Architects


David Matchett - Head of Food Policy Development at Borough Market


Walter Menteth - Architect and Lecturer at University of Plymouth


Preston Benson - Director at Really Local Group


Carmel Keren - Urban Designer at Public Practice and Associate at GLA Planning


Many thanks to those members of the public who kindly joined us for the discussion afterwards. 


We have captured the essence of the discussion on a short video

Key points from the discussion

Engagement - 

  • if they care, the community needs to engage in the debate about the future of their town centres and activate the political process
  • the High Street is a place to engage and connect with the community

Consultation - 

  • the community should generate the ideas, the professionals provide the solutions
  • citizenship shoild be part of the school curriculum to encourage children to come forward with ideas

Social -

  • the town centre needs to the evoke energy that social behaviour and socal events can generate
  • markets are a great example of social energy generated by commercial transactions
  • people expect the town centre to be exciting, different, to bring different experiences to them and when they fail to do so poeople sy=top coming






Tags: Architecture, Wren

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