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


HIGH STREETS are becoming the NEXT BIG THING it seems. 

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

BIG SOCIETY                                 MARY PORTAS                                  DESIGNWEEK


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       



Recent Research has enabled me to find this innovative initiative by Paul Twivy.

YOUR SQUARE MILE – a project for community based activities which has just been awarded a grant of £830,000 ( EIGHT HUNDRED and THIRTY THOUSAND POUNDS ) by the BIG LOTTERY FUND.

The design work for the project was designed by CONRAN SINGH as reported in DESIGNWEEK on Wed 18 May 2011.

This linked directly to the website  http://thirdsector.co.uk

which then linked into the website for http://thebigsociety.co.uk

which then linked into the prime ministers http://www.number10.gov.uk

All of the initiatives are amazing and I rewalise that my MDES project is similar in content but that it needs to be more commercial and business-like in its organisation and it really requires a re-think on the content and tactics to get my ideas seen and then heard.

Finally, in this weekends FINANCIAL TIMES there is an article entitled  ‘Future Plans’ by Simon Ricketts, which is all about LOCALISM…………which looks at how a ‘localism’ bill may be able to give new powers to residents and individuals in the planning and development of their local communities. It is all part of the BIG SOCIETY VISION.