In 2013 I was involved in co-authoring The Grimsey Review – An alternative future for our high streets. Again in 2018 we are doing #GrimseyReview2 which will look at the first review 5 years on and will take a more comprehensive and case study approach to what is a major issue for towns not just in the UK but across the world. It is about towns, cities and places not high streets. A high street is a function of a place and not a standalone entity.
Data is key to modern place management and online/digital is a major enabler to creating vibrant places. The internet is not killing the high street/towns/our places. It is the inability to recognise changing consumer behaviour as a result of technology, changes in where shops exist, changes in work patterns and places where people want to go to.
Whilst the first Grimsey Review was widely ignored in the UK and especially England it was taken up by an innovative town in Belgium, Roeselare, which is in western Flanders. When a number of us from the #GrimseyReview2 team visited it so did ITV and HERE is what they found – 3 mins clip on You Tube.
We have much to learn as the speed and complexity of changes in our places occur but let us not be afraid to harness technology and human social character to make our places fit for the 21st century and beyond.
#GrimseyReview2 will be published on 4th July 2018 in Birmingham.