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 week. Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, has also summed up the workshop on his blog. He comments:

What was being requested (demanded?) really was a substantive change in the way government and other agencies think and operate. How do we create spaces for things to happen rather than thinking we can create change centrally? How do we get rid of self-defeating and limiting key performance indicators, when we are really trying to enrich lives and places?

You can see a video of the four opening presentations above, and there’s  a short paper summarising the workshop here (pdf). The Centre for Scottish Public Policy has also posted some thoughts on the event. And BBC Scotland did a short piece (though it missed the fundamental issues).

What’s clear is that there’s huge interest in Scotland in the future of our town centres, and a willingness to think differently at least in some quarters. Interestingly, the Bishopbriggs Town Team saw my presentation the following evening and immediately identified people who could put more than half the 20 ideas into practice.