Why local works: the story of Giroscope

On the front page of Giroscope’s website is a three point pledge to its tenants. It sounds like the sort of thing some big, commercially minded landlords would do, but the content of this small Hull charity’s promise is rather different: • So long as the conditions of the tenancy are met, you have the right […]

Can a revived New Towns movement solve the housing crisis?

A new age of new towns and garden cities could be the solution to the affordable housing crisis in the UK, according to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, writes Alex Douet. In a speech to the National House Building Council recently in which he announced a government investment of £225 million in new homes, Mr […]

The Portas Review, one year on

To mark the first anniversary of the publication of the Portas Review, AMT and Urban Pollinators have brought together a range of collaborators to reflect on town centre progress and problems. High streets and town centres remain firmly on the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments’ agendas. It’s encouraging that so much local action is taking place and […]

From ‘me’ towns to ‘we’ towns: a vision for the future

One year ago, the Portas Review of the high street echoed our vision that the high streets of the future should be ‘multifunctional social centres, not simply competitors for stretched consumers’. The response to the review I coordinated last year was collaborative, and those of us who compiled it believe a positive future for our […]

What makes an asset an asset?

After a summer of report writing, a busy autumn of events is coming up – and nearly a year after the Portas review of the high streets, there’s still huge interest in what should happen in our town and city centres. Last week I was asked to take part in Make:Shift, a two-day workshop organised […]

Inspiration of the month: Offshoots, Burnley

Eighteen months ago Gillian Newlove struggled to leave her house. Her confidence was at rock bottom and she did all she could to avoid meeting people. Last Christmas couldn’t have been more different. Her paintings were exhibited at Accrington Town Hall, she met the mayor and visitors were enquiring about buying her work. The change […]

Can social landlords be agents of local economic change?

A few years ago the Joseph Rowntree Foundation produced a report entitled Person or place-based policies to tackle disadvantage? Not knowing what works. The title was a fitting, if depressing, summary of more than two decades of research and practice. The current government has decided that the answer to this conundrum is to stop looking […]

Introducing the Canning Town Caravanserai

A guest blog from the Caravanserai team Traditional Caravanserais were vital, busy compounds along the Silk Road, places with some greenery, water and shelter, to take a break from traveling. Once rested, people of different backgrounds, nationalities and races would exchange goods and stories. They were cities in miniature, bustling with trade & activity, vibrant […]

Beyond the butcher and the baker: local government gets re-imagining

If you thought we were all deserting local shops, think again. Apparently nearly four-fifths of us believe our high streets depend on local butchers and bakers, according to the Local Government Association. A new poll shows just how deep this care for local retailers lies, especially among older people: Nearly eight in 10 local people […]

An Association of Agitators: the next step for our high streets?

Imagining Alternative High Street Futures from Architecture + Design Scotland on Vimeo. Where can you find an Association of Town Agitators, a ‘framework for mess’ and a high street Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Answer: Glasgow, where around 40 people gathered to ‘imagine alternative high street futures’ on Tuesday. We blogged some thoughts here earlier this […]