Town Centres & Local People
Local people are the lifeblood of your town centre – the are consumers, visitors and stakeholders too. Tapping into what makes local people want to use 'their' town centre can be the key to developing a communal, vibrant town centre experience.
Talk to people, get involved with local community groups, resident associations, religious meetings, the Guide and Scout groups and so on. The more voices you listen to, the broader and deeper the picture of what residents want from a town centre gets.
Town centres today need to be accessible and safe, but also offer an experience that people cannot find either online or in one of your competitors. This can be done by delivering projects that means something to local people, and ideally that involve them too. The rise of Town Teams shows what happens what community members decide to have a say in the way their local area is run and what events happen.
There is an increasing trend to live 'above the shops' in town centres. Not only does this ensure town centres are busy places throughout the day and evening, it also supports local businesses and services by providing a ready-made market to sell to. Towns and cities the world over are re-discovering the value of mixed-use developments, ‘living over the shop’, and bringing redundant floor space back into use. Each resident, with the high street on their doorstep, is likely to make the most of local shops and services, helping to insulate your town centre against the trade lost to out-of-town developments and internet shopping.
As someone who is interested in the well-being of your local town centre, why not act as a co-ordinator of residential services to ensure people can access what they need, locally. Not only would you be looking at the day to day management of your town centre, but also the strategic development priorities to ensure businesses and residents are retained and succeed in the long term.