Before the official launch of Property X-Change, Gort Scott hosted a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges of new high streets projects.
On Tuesday June 14th, Gort Scott invited five high street experts to speak in an open forum as part of the 2022 London Festival of Architecture.
The topic of discussion: new high streets. The challenge: how to stitch together old and new parts of the city with respect for all of the communities that such a project might involve.
In a conversation between Morwenna Hall (Partner and COO at Argent LLP), Alpa Depani (Head of Strategic Planning & Design at LB Waltham Forest), Eleanor Fawcett (Head of Design at OPDC), John Nordon (Co-Founder at Neighbourhood company), and Jayden Ali (Director at JA Projects), five key take aways emerged.
- Define shared goals; When planning and regeneration teams, existing and new residents, and developers are all working for the same thing, the product usually benefits.
- Maintain momentum; In the case of the Olympic Park ‘placeholder uses’, Eleanor Fawcett noted the considerable effort that had gone into creating a network of community groups and local entrepreneurs, which was subsequently lost when sites were handed over to developers.
- Create coherent strategies; Whether the high street owned by one or several stakeholders, there are considerable benefits to creating a strategy for the place as a whole. Morwenna Hall explained that by establishing a single strategy for the ground floor uses along a street, activities can be better balanced, and it becomes easier to identify opportunities for innovation.
- Facilitate an inclusive conversation; Jayden Ali gave the example of using translators at co-design workshops for Queen’s market, ensuring that the diverse users of the street had a fair chance of inputting into its future.
Keep it flexible; People and businesses should always be given the opportunity to modify places and spaces to suit their needs. For new high streets, this becomes a particularly important point, as these places do not yet benefit from the cultural depths that can only be created over time.
- Gort Scott