Town Centres summary highlights attitudes over assets

The summary of Future of London’s summer conference, Creating Resilient Town Centres, is now online. Speakers gave insight into topical case studies along with strategies and best practice for reinforcing, rethinking and reinventing town centres – old and new, large and small.

What emerged as we assembled the summary was that the way forward will be less about specific infrastructure or asset choices than about fostering leadership qualities:

  • consistency in leadership and decision-making;
  • ability to flex with external shocks and pressures;
  • in-depth understanding of user groups, and of how to prepare as they change;
  • a good eye for the right project partners – from all sectors;
  • serious consultation skills, especially in complex places; and
  • (we heard this one a few times) bravery.

You could say that last was just a buzz-word, but examples included taking the leap on £600m funding for King’s Cross; choosing retail that works locally over what’s trending; sticking it out as a small developer while a place and plan came together; hewing to unpopular individual decisions to make a larger scheme come together; and leading placemaking with civic amenities and investment (how un-sexy, and how successful!). There appears to be some substance to this bravery thing…

We hope the summary is useful to you. You can find the list of speakers and their materials here, and the report Download. We are printing a limited run of hard copies; if you’d like a print version – or if there’s anyone you’d like to get in touch with – please contact events@futureoflondon.org.uk.

Thanks as always to conference and report sponsors Arup, Pollard Thomas Edwards and Bilfinger GVA, and join FoL for related projects like our Sept. 24th regen field trip to Poplar’s Chrisp Street Market, and our early 2016 programme on Workspace that Works.