14 JUNE 2011 HIGH STREET DREAMS a designweek article page9 dated 26 may 2011

RETAIL DESIGN EXPERTS PREDICT HIGH STREET FUTURES

HIGH STREETS are becoming the NEXT BIG THING it seems. 

Look atsome of this  recent  stuff…………………………………………………………………………….              

BIG SOCIETY                                 MARY PORTAS                                  DESIGNWEEK

ITS TIME TO NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN                                 YOUR SQUARE MILE

Based on recent research there is a lot of debate beginning to happen, and I am keen to develop my design project and  ideas for participatory events to bring various stakeholders together.  It is all about regenerating high street environments, but there is huge potential in this public space. High streets are a place where everyone goes, even if they do not always engage with the urban environment that exists.  Most people have no real opinion about these spaces…………..until you ask them the right sort of questions!

High streets are suffering…….. but there are real pockets of innovative projects starting to emerge,  from pop-up shops to general improvements in the physical surroundings, which aim to enhance the public image and experience of these retail  spaces.

LETS CHANGE the HIGH STREETS                                                                                            It is time to develop ideas to make these streets and centres more of an experience that will attract and retain shoppers and customers, as well as bringing in more quality in retailing standards which should provide better training and  service from savvy retailing business organisation and specilaist shops.  Improving service will add real value to the experience of  finding the right product or  advice.   Communication is vital.

Imagine the high street as an attraction which has facilities and focus points to re-engage with everyone in the community in each town centre.        Each town has its own identity and story to tell ,which opens up the opportunity to be URBAN LOCAL .

URBAN BANK is a proposed concept of mine,  which could be the CATALYST EVENT FORUM POINT, to  initially gather research information and become a place or HUBPOINT where people can contribute ideas and suggestions and visionary thoughts about their own town’s futurism and sustainable prosperity. Technological ideas may have a part to play in this process.  Funding such endeavour will be partof the project tasks.

There are many examples, from all over the world, from cities to samll villages and communities, which can be used as inspiration,  to show and prove that involving the community and  key stakeholders can bring enormous benefits for all.

New ideas, new ways of thinking, new  design concepts and propositions can inform and engage with people who have interests in the ongoing enhancement and development of a vibrant community.

For my own project development for my MDes Research Project, it is time to provide a detailed plan of action that will attract and involve the range of interested stakeholders in opening up their thinking and their vision to develop real and tangible project work. Below is a sketch map of sunny Kirkcaldy which could be laid out on a large scale as the focal point of a participatory work shop event in the near future.  AUGUST could be the first workshop event.  WATCH THIS SPACE

K     I     R     K     C     A     L     D     Y       

KIRKCALDY MAPPING

KIRKCALDY CASE STUDY SKETCH THUMBNAILS

ideas for Mdes research subject for study
Ideas generated through quick thumbnail sketches

QUICK Bic pens draft sketches as thoughts on paper, to show initial ideas for a potential range of options for the Mdes Research Project. It could be that a combination of elements could work together, or it may be preferable to select just ONE IDEA and run with it!

Initially, I wanted to have a braod overview of how the town of Kirkcaldy operated and the wayfinding survey and exercises were my start point for discovering the town form an new way of thinking. Currently I am looking at the town centre environs with the declining High Street being a particular focus for my research to establish how and  what is require to re-create and enliven the High Street after the retail areas close down. 

signage elementys for waYFINDING
COLOUR RENDERED SKETCH OVERLAY

MDES RESEARCH PROJECT – DESIGN of TRANSITIONAL SPACES in TOWN CENTRES

Transitional Spaces and Portals

linear sketch with colour highlights
LINEAR SKETCH with IDEAS for CHANGES of USE in a HIGH STREET

Transitional Spaces and Portals  is a design-led investigation into how we use and engage with urban spaces in town centres. The spatial awareness that we experience as we transmit through and inside buildings and related spaces between, affects our human behaviour within the physicality of our urban environments.  References into Environmental Psychology, Human Factor Behavioural Science, and current thinking on Urban Design would be adopted.

Kirkcaldy Town Centre, will be the focus of my investigations.  

New Business Retail Parks are on the periphery of the town, creating an adverse effect on retailing trade in the High Street.  The Design Research Project has the opportunity to develop ideas to recapture key urban spaces to improve the high street ambience, so that the town centre does not need to be just about shops.

Stakeholders are from a wide range of organisations including, Planning,  Kirkcaldy 4 All , Town Management , Fife Council,  Civic Society,  Green Initiatives , Developers,  Designers and the general public users.

Design methods and techniques to investigate and record the high street environments would   aim to develop a proposal that could act as a link mechanism strategy for one or more stakeholders, to develop a new useable urbanism for all.