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Has the age of the internet killed our high streets? Have our town and city centres become obsolete?
How to Save Our Town Centres, published by Policy Press in February 2015, delves below the surface of empty buildings and ‘shop local’ campaigns to focus on the real issues: how the relationship between people and places is changing, how business is done and who benefits, and how the use and ownership of land affects us all.
Written in an engaging and accessible style and illustrated with numerous original interviews, the book sets out a comprehensive and coherent agenda for long-term citizen-led change. It will be a valuable resource for anyone who cares about the future of the places they live in, as well as policymakers and researchers in planning, architecture and the built environment, economic development and community participation.
You can read an edited extract from the book on the Guardian Cities website.
The debate about high streets has become completely stuck. By setting it in a wider context about the places we might want to live in the future, Julian Dobson has relaunched it in a really exciting way.
David Boyle, author, and fellow of the New Economics Foundation
This is a fascinating and important book – a primer for the reinvigoration of local economies and high streets. At last a refreshing alternative to the official narrative of the decline of the high street.
Anna Minton, writer, journalist and visiting professor at the University of East London
A significant and important book that is entertainingly and engagingly written. Julian Dobson critiques, dissects and then rebuilds the state of our high streets and town centres, arguing coherently for new, locally based, ground-up reconstruction of place and community and challenges us all to get involved.Professor Leigh Sparks, Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling
It’s brilliant. I recommend it hugely. Buy copies for everyone on your local council… It contains the passion, the ideas, the approach that we will need if we are to bring our High Streets back to life.
Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network (read the full review here).
Julian Dobson has written a great book here on what has gone wrong and, more importantly, what can we now do to rejuvenate our town centres. This is long overdue, and vital to our quality of living.Tony Baldwinson, in New Start magazine