Some of the Thurston team spent last week on an insightful webinar from The Business Desk and Bevan Britton. On the Renaissance of Towns and how new working practices can inspire towns and cities to reinvent themselves.
We’ve all spent the last 15 months completely reinventing the way we work. The pandemic has not only caused monumental changes within business itself but with where we work too. With a large majority of the population shifting to home working, this has ultimately had an impact on our towns and cities with less people commuting.
As things start to open back up and workers head back to offices or start hybrid working, a mix of home and office working, this webinar explored what new opportunities this new way of working presents for Yorkshire’s towns and cities. As well as how they can be a catalyst for reinvention and future growth.
Discussion considered what local authorities are doing to bring people back and how businesses, developers and planners can reshape the high street. The panel included partners at Bevan and Britton, the Head of Service at Business Doncaster, the CEO and trustee at Piece Hall in Halifax and Project Director of Neighbourhood by Capital and Centric.
It was an insightful and interesting webinar that shed a light on some of the challenges that our towns and cities face, and what we can do to make them fit for the future. Our key takeaways were that if we’re to reinvent Yorkshire’s towns and cities, then investment in the North is key and we need to focus on putting the money where it’s needed most to help rebuild some of what we’ve lost.
Community was also a big focus with the panelists wanting to see more of a focus on building communities and utilising spaces that have been vacant for years to create business hubs. Unfortunately, a lot of retail businesses were unable to survive the pandemic and we’re seeing more shops and businesses leaving our high streets every day. This decline leaves more vacant spaces and pushes people away to places that are busier.
Business hubs and placemaking will help breathe more life into the high street and help bring people back. This sentiment touches on the ’15 minute cities’ concept. Building communities that mean people are living and working within the same area and revitalising areas so that people have everything they need within a short distance of their home.