At the start of 2020 towns and cities across the UK were facing up to an uncertain decade ahead of them. Covid-19 quickly created some certainty; towns and cities as we know them are gone.
Think Tanks and academics have begun to ask how many people will change their work and social life, and what that will mean for employers, high streets, culture and even people’s ability to meet a partner, fall in love and have children.
With millennials hardwired to spend meaningfully and big corporates changing their business models to prioritise civic responsibility, audiences increasingly desire more than a generic place to “live, work, shop and play” — the deeply unimaginative catch-all strapline shared by too many towns, cities, regions and new mixed-use developments the world over.
As the planet becomes more urbanised and cities become larger, more complex and fragile, questions about governance become ever more significant. Every place is an opportunity, not just for making money, but for being purposeful in the world.
How can towns and cities build common purpose amongst stakeholders – citizens, communities, elected representatives, businesses – in order to reflect this societal shift?
It starts with visionary developers, planners and their professional teams getting behind a common mission, to build places with purpose, and asking themselves and their communities important questions… why are we doing this? Who are we doing it for? What is the purpose of this place? What do we believe in?
So, what next? What do the towns and cities of the future look like and how do we make them ‘good’ for people and business in the long term?