Creating Resilient Town Centres
This 2015 report draws on insights generated at a conference focusing on Creating Resilient Town Centres. The report presents key presentation topics and the discussions ensuing in breakout rooms, covering issues around: strategy; project delivery; local economy; transport; housing; and place management. Resilient town centres are outlined as multi-purpose hubs with bespoke, place-specific plans delivered through strong leadership, partnership working, and based on a good understanding of users’ (changing) needs.
This report draws on insights generated at the 2015 Creating Resilient Town Centres conference, attended by town centre decision-makers from across the public, private and third sectors. As the report outlines, town centres and high streets are subject to short-, medium-, and long-term pressures, including consumer and market spending power and confidence, planning policy, demographic changes, digital trends, and convenience culture, with building resilience to such challenges important for their vitality and viability. Based on the conference presentations delivered, and participant breakout room discussions, this report summarises the topics covered, including: strategy; project delivery; local economy; transport; housing; place management and partnership working. Town centre case studies are also included throughout. Key themes emerging from the conference discussions about how to transform and create more resilient town centres and high streets, include:
Multipurpose hubs - town centres should be places where people can come together to work, live, shop, and play.
Bespoke plans - instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, town centre plans should be place-specific, making the most of unique civic assets.
Balancing old and new - it is important to strike a balance between existing assets and new opportunities, as well as meeting the needs of both longstanding and new users.
Understanding user needs - to create longer-term resilience for town centres, they need to be designed, managed, and flexible to changing user needs and demands.
Leadership and partnerships - town centre plans and strategies need to be managed through strong leadership, as well as effective partnership working between a range of stakeholders.