High Streets: Agents for Economic Change

Local high streets have gained totemic significance as a bleak lens on what many experience as a broken economic system. With the potential to provide a beating heart for a community – connections into the economy, society, and community infrastructure – the decline of the high street has had massive knock-on effects on public and retail spaces across the UK.

This interactive and collaborative workshop will stimulate fresh thinking and practical new approaches, which communities, local authorities, and the private sector can apply to reverse this decline and reinvent our high street economies.

  • The state of the debate on the future of our high streets.
  • High streets as an analogy for the state of the economy.
  • Instructive and inspiring examples of community-led restoration and regeneration.
  • How to work together with others on practical projects for a vibrant and diverse high street.
  • An understanding of the structural reasons for the decline of the high street.
  • A library of inspiring 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 reinventing their high street.
  • Those interested in protecting and maintaining civic spaces.
  • Those interested in community-led economic development.
  • Those regenerating high streets through repurposing heritage assets.

Frances Northrop is Principle Director of Communities and Localities at the New Economics Foundation. She is a community-led economic development specialist with practical and strategic expertise in community organising, the co-production of health and social care, the establishment of community and social enterprises, relationship building across local government and asset transfer and management. She is also a Director of Totnes Community Development Society, which exists to hold land and buildings in community ownership, for activities which meet the needs of residents.

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