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Peter Murray

 

What will future high streets offer if it’s not shops? Hosted by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Society’s ongoing examination of the state of the high street curated by Jane Clossick, Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at London Metropolitan University, continued with ‘Beyond Retail – what else can high streets do?’. Report by Sarah Jarvis of Placeworks.

Our three speakers, Dr Gayle Rogers, Melissa Meyer and Simon Quin, took us on a lightning and enlightening tour of high streets around the country. For a largely London-based audience this brought an insight into what is happening further afield, as well as a fresh look at neighbourhoods nearer to home. It reminded us that while there are commonalities shared by many communities, the importance of place should never be underestimated.

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Peter Murray

 

As part of the Society’s High Streets theme, high streets expert, business owner and former head of Design For London, Professor Mark Brearley took a group of members on a stroll down Clapham High Street. Finbar Bradley was there.

Current fears regarding the condition of our High Streets have been heavily linked to a drop in visitor retail and the movement to online shopping. It is interesting to consider this whilst simultaneously walking through one of London’s ~600 bustling and growing High Streets. Though set in Clapham, Mark Brearley instead took a walking tour through the idea of high streets in general; what they are and how they currently hold a place in our lives.

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Peter Murray

 

The 2019 events programme is taking shape, with a range of talks, debates, schools, tours and walks currently being slotted into next year’s calendar. To make sure you know when booking opens for each of our talks, sign up for our newsletter.

There are three main themes for next year – Engineering and Infrastructure, and Parks and Open Spaces are two, and the third is London High Streets. Jane Clossick, lecturer in Urban Design and resident high streets expert at Cass Cities, London Metropolitan University explains the thinking behind the series.

The London Society High Streets series of walks and talks will offer an insight into high streets across London and the UK. High streets are very much on the political and cultural agenda. In July this year, local growth and high streets minister Jake Berry announced an expert panel to ‘diagnose issues that affect health of our high streets and advise on the best practical measures to help them thrive’. There is much talk in the media of saving the high street, and anguish about the loss of big retail chains like Maplin and Toys ‘R’ Us. 

In the Society High Streets series, architects, academics, civil servants and activists will give their take on the state of the UK high street, in a series of high street walks in between presentations and cross-disciplinary discussions, each with three presenters. Join us to find out about the high street’s spatial, social, economic and cultural functions and to participate in a conversation about its future. 

The first talk in the series is High streets: Resilience and resourcefulness with more events to be added before the end of the year.

You can contact Jane for more information about the series, or if you’d like to get involved, via Twitter @jane_clossick. The series is supported by The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, and you can find out about many more events at The Cass at www.cassculture.org.

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