High Street Camp

The first High Street Camp ‘unconference’ took place at the Library Lab in Willesden Green, north London, on 25 May 2012. The idea was to bring together community activists, planners and professionals to exchange ideas and experiences about how our high streets could be better. To get a flavour of the event, see the summary below.

A good starting point is to replay the live blog from the day: Click Here

Sunday 27 May: Some initial thoughts on High Street Camp and the Portas Pilots announcement at Julian’s blog. And some pictures and thoughts from Rooms Of Our Own.

Monday 28 May: Some good feedback from attendees today. Chris Wade, chief executive of Action for Market Towns, has blogged here. Among his observations were that “Mary Portas … spoke passionately about her ongoing commitment to campaign to save High Streets including the need for stronger government intervention in deciding controversial applications for out-of-town supermarkets and shopping centres.”

Alice Vaughan from 3Space describes the popular workshop on urban design and the built environment, led by Glasshouse and Living Streets, in this summary of the day. She concludes: “With a pocket full of business cards and enough ideas to fuel a whole wave of 3Space empty shop projects, I left High Street Camp encouraged that there is not only a powerful force behind the movement of community-lead high street rejuvenation, but that businesses, councils and local government are really beginning to take notice.”

Greg Cowan, chair of Living Streets King’s Cross, was particularly impressed by the Queen’s Parade pop-up shops project: “The highlight for me was visiting Queen’s Parade to see a regenerated street frontage accommodating pop-up small enterprises including a print shop, vintage shop and juice bar.” You can read more of his thoughts here.

There’s also a post from Nigel Rothband, chief executive of Retail Trust, describing ‘an audience with Queen Mary’, and this piece by Tracey Herald talking about the importance of connecting young people with their towns.

Tuesday 29 May: Peter Kay of BeepTreat has posted this Storify summary of High Street Camp, which gives a good flavour of the day (and if you want to know what Mary Portas’s dog looks like, check it out). And a shorter version of Julian’s blog post has been published by the Huffington Post.

There’s also been lots of discussion about the Portas Pilot decisions, announced by the government on Saturday (but widely rumoured the day before).

Wednesday 30 May: Hannah Gibbs from The Glasshouse has written an excellent summary of the workshop she ran with Living Streets. It includes a useful six-point list of key themes emerging from the day’s discussions, which could make a good checklist for anyone thinking about the built environment in their high street.