Democratising the High Street

High Streets – whatever form they take – resonate with us wherever we might find ourselves in the UK.  They are places where we are able to access the goods and services that sustain us, meet and greet friends and neighbours, and encounter new people who we may never have met otherwise. The very nature of High Streets is that they came into existence to meet a range of different needs; ostensibly retail but never confined to such, and are constantly responding and adapting to the changing needs of communities across the UK. The temptation is strong to come up with a 'model' High Street but this ignores what exists already and the wonderful variations of form they take. 

How can we work together to ensure accessible High Streets for all in perpetuity?

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  • The state of the debate on the future of our high streets
  • The pernicious role of the rentier economy versus the generative economy
  • Instructive and inspiring examples of thriving high streets, restoration, and regeneration
  • How to practically work together with others for a vibrant and diverse high street
  • An understanding of the structural reasons for the decline of the high street
  • A library of ideas and projects for change
  • Practical tools for setting up campaigns and projects
  • Practical steps you can take to make sure your projects avoid gentrification
  • Those interested in High Streets in the context of the Right to the City
  • Those interested in mapping the power imbalance around High Streets
  • Those committed to the idea of civic buildings and spaces as commons
  • Those interested in how local people can fight for and affect change

Frances Northrop is Associate Fellow for Local Economies at the New Economics Foundation. She is a community-led economic development specialist with practical and strategic expertise in building grassroots power, working with small and independent businesses, strategic influencing with policy makers and models of support and resource for local economic change. Working across sectors and at a national, regional and local level, Frances has a specialist perspective on how change is created through different means – culture, policy, practice and campaigns – and experience in all four areas.

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