Transformation Route map

COVID-19 has seen businesses, communities and place leaders adapt, form new partnerships, take action and make plans for a different kind of future for high streets and town centres. This new route map from the High Streets Task Force captures this learning and will help guide regeneration plans.


The past few weeks have seen high streets and town centres face a new challenge, much greater than anything they have been confronted by before. Usually, place managers and leaders are trying to attract a full and diverse offer of businesses and as many people as possible to visit. However, since the nation went into lockdown, high streets and town centres have been deserted. Only essential businesses, like food stores, have been allowed to open as people have been told to stay at home. Footfall has been down 90% compared to the same period last year, although, as restrictions ease, footfall is starting to increase. 

To support the response to COVID-19 The High Streets Task Force adopted a framework for recovery. Many cities, towns and high streets have used the framework to organise effort and engage businesses and the wider community. To reopen safely, the changes that need to be made in such a short period of time are enormous. The High Streets Task Force has been tracking these changes, and also reflecting on how change happens - and why it happens in some places faster than others. There is much to learn from the ways in which place leaders, managers, businesses and the wider community have adapted. There are also many calls for high streets and town centres to not go back to the 'old normal'. The High Streets Task Force has synthesised this learning and ambition into a route map that will help the next stage of the journey 'from recovery to transformation'.

Recovery to Transformation Route Map

Principles of adaptation

The first part of the route map summarises the journey from crisis to recovery, the second the path from recovery to transformation. Whereas the COVID-19 Recovery Framework explores what action needs to be taken at which stage - the route map focuses on the underlying principles of place adaptation - which are repositioning - the use of data, evidence and collaboration in the production of visions and plans; reinventing - putting plans into action and activating space; rebranding - effective two-way communication and changing perceptions; and restructuring - having the right governance and spatial frameworks.

Join our Routemap webinar series

The route map forms the basis of a webinar series that will launch on the 19th June 2020.

The first webinar will focus on the key learning from the crisis, and how places have adapted; through action, effective communication, good plans, and new partnerships. These are important to keep and build on - and the webinar will also review evidence on effective regeneration and renewal strategies, so place managers and leaders can develop or adapt their own approaches.

The next webinars take a deeper dive into the fundamentals of successful transformation - covering the principles of effective governance and leadership, the importance of collaborative visions, introducing the concept of placefulness, and exploring what a 21st Century multifunctional high street will look like, and why its worth working hard for.

Register now to register for the Recovery to Transformation Route Map Webinar Series.