It will be crucial to explore the opportunities ahead for us to redesign the current outdated model of our retail-dependent high streets and the rapid decline in footfall. Approaching these challenges and seizing upon opportunities must start with the question, ‘What does the future of the UK’s towns and cities look like?’
In seeking answers, Localis believes it useful to break the future of towns and cities down to four key areas; work, infrastructure and transport, business and access.
The ‘future of our towns and cities’ workstream will seek to solve massive shifts in local labour markets and skills needs, the prevalence of home working. What will the design of workspace look like? How will it be distributed? What types of technology will be required?
For the UK’s urban infrastructure and transport, how immediate is the opportunity to become much less centralised, better-resourced and organised as a network of productive local economies?
Around business, understanding retail innovations and an emphasis on entrepreneurship in place will be key to informing a recovery and renewal strategy.
Access: the future of access can be seen through the lenses of inequality. What would better access to housing, health, social care and economic opportunities mean if aligned with Jane Jacobs’ concept of the ’15 minute city’?
In Q4 2020 there was a 13.7% high street vacancy rate and a 17.3% shopping centre vacancy rate. The early months of 2021 saw a 68.3% year-on-year decline in high street footfall and a 4.9% decline in retail sales volume. In January 2021, the proportion of money spent online was 35.2%, the highest on record. […]
The last nine months of Covid-19 induced lockdowns has served as a stress test without parallel for our social infrastructure and fabric. We have learned the limits and extent of the central state’s ability to command and control from Whitehall and the inner-resilience and capacity of the local and hyperlocal to persevere and intuitively innovate on the ground – in many cases […]
The relationship between the levelling up agenda and London has been the subject of intense scrutiny, both inside and outside of the city. The Local London subregion – comprising the boroughs in East and North East London – presents a clear problematisation of the often-presented view of London as a universally prosperous economic monolith. Local London and […]
Ahead of COP 26, government departments have been commissioned across Whitehall to inform the cross-government Net Zero Strategy that, amongst other things, will detail plans for decarbonisation across key sectors of the economy. One of the most significant challenges in reaching net zero is the need to retrofit the nation’s housing stock and increase energy […]
There is perhaps no greater issue driving division in British politics than the serious gap between aspirations for home ownership and the malign effects of constrained supply. This situation, in which we don’t build or supply enough affordable homes in places where people not only just wish, but need to live, is the unhappy reality […]
The Plan for Growth, released in March 2021, is the UK government’s new plan setting out its view on how to recover from the pandemic through ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ across the UK. It sets out government objectives to ‘support economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills, and innovation’. And serves as a […]
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the resilience and strength of England’s local government in keeping our communities safe. Equally, the ongoing socio-economic consequences demonstrate the need for strong place-based leadership and governance at the right level to help our recovery. This is especially true for Oxford, one of our country’s leading cities and one that […]
Writing in 1912, Hilaire Belloc warned: “change your hearts or you will lose your inns and you will deserve to have lost them”. Should such a calamity unfold, Belloc added that “you will have lost the last of England”. The Power of Pubs looks at the attempts made in 2020 by the UK government to […]
The rhetoric of digitisation pervades the contemporary political conversation. Smart devices, connected in smart homes, connected in smart cities give policymakers ever better information on which to base decisions. At the same time, the UK’s Road to Zero and its equivalents abroad present a future of carbon-neutral countries producing zero emissions. Smart Cities: Fair investment […]