Visual Appearance - 237 'Vital and Viable' Factors

As part of our series on vital and viable high streets, the High Streets Task Force is presenting 'evidence on a page' summaries of over 200 factors that influence the success of high streets. Here we address visual appearance; visual appearance refers not only to the appearance of high street buildings, but also to the overall cleanliness, lighting, and age of the centre.

Date added 16 November 2021
Last updated 17 November 2021

Visual elements of high streets are essential indicators of vitality; old and ‘tired’ town centres that suffer from degradation are aesthetically poor in the eyes of visitors and other place stakeholders (e.g. private investors).

Focusing on environmental improvements to the streetscape, and the physical regeneration of the built environment can be a medium- to long-term aspiration for most centres (Couch and Dennemann, 2000). However, daily maintenance and performing basic place management tasks, such as keeping the centre clean and tidy, can also affect the perceived visual appearance in the short-term.

Visual appearance is one of 237 factors that have been identified as influencing the vitality and viability of the high street.

For more information and further reading, download the pdf 'evidence on a page'. The page contains information about this factors place within the 237 factors identified and: whether it is a component factor of one of 25 'vital and viable' priorities; how the factor scores in terms of influence, place management control, and priority.

To read more about vital and viable high streets, see