How to do high streets differently?

Save our High Streets

Covid-19 has been devastating for the health of the nation in so many ways. We must use what has happened to rethink the traditional models. We need to start a new era of community led high streets.

Civic societies will be campaigning for their future across England and will be playing a role in the Government's High Streets Task Force.

What we need is action and we can start today. Civic Voice has a series of webinars taking place for you to learn more:

If you want to part of a growing movement wanting to shape our towns and cities, we would suggest that you sign up for Civic Voice’s #inconversation events:

We also have a series of webinars showcasing good initiatives already taking place across the UK

  • 2nd December: Modern Methods of Meaningful Participation: Collaborative Planning and Charettes with JTP: Register here
  • 4th December: Modern Methods of Meaningful Participation: Digital engagement and Liverpool High Streets Register here.
  • 11th December: Commonplace and a modern approach to building community engagement into redefining high streets: Register here.

Past events include:

  • May 6th: In Conversation with Graham Galpin - (watch it back here)
  • May 27th: In Conversation with Matthew Mckeague - CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund - 'What is the future for our heritage high streets? (Watch it back here)
  • June 8th: Coventry Society Online General Meeting with Trish Willetts from the Coventry BID
  • June 23rd: Phil Prentice, Scotland’s Town Partnership will be sharing perspectives as to how the Possilpark traders are pulling together to pilot a Community Improvement District. Watch it back here.
  • June 24th: Vidhya Alakeson, Power to Change will be sharing her thoughts as to why #communitybusiness has big part to play in the future of our high streets Watch it back here
  • June 25th: Patrice Frey, Main Street US will be talking to us about Main Street America as we consider whether the approach will work in the UK  Watch it back here
  • June 26th: St Albans District Council, in co-operation with the Business Improvement District (BID), Conservation 50 and the Civic Society, are looking to develop a new vision for St Albans’ city centre (Register here)
  • July 9th: In Conversation with Duncan Wilson: CEO of Historic England - How is Historic England responding to Covid-19 Register here.
  • July 16th: In Conversation with Ros Kerslake: CEO of Heritage Lottery Fund - 'In Conversation' - Will we have less funding for heritage? Register here.

We also have a series of webinars showcasing good initiatives already taking place across the UK - we will use these sessions to explore some of our ideas further! 

  • 1-2pm June 3rd: Watch it back here
  • 1-2pm June 19th: With Walworth Heritage Action Zone, Elsecar Heritage Action Zone and Great Weston Heritage Action Zone. Watch it back here.
  • 1-2pm July 3rd: Register here with Appleby Heritage Action Zone, Coventry Heritage Action Zone and Wakefield Heritage Action Zone
  • 1-2pm July 17th: Register here HEART of Hastings, Paisley Trust and Stockport Council. 

The challenges are not to be underestimated, but we believe that high streets should make the historic environment central to their retail offer as a way to create an attractive and viable high street. New developments need to be more imaginative in the way in which existing buildings, including listed properties, are altered and schemes are likely to become smaller in size. Every high street needs a long-term vision about what it is offering and needs to fit in with the wider challenges faced by society. For example, the UK has a serious housing shortage. Why don’t we convert our numerous empty shop units into affordable housing? 

We can start by reviving the high street with small changes such as focusing on the public realm and removing redundant clutter and reviewing parking arrangements,

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