The renaissance of the town
Despite a budget deficit of £303bn, the government is pressing ahead with plans for town regeneration with its Future High Streets, Towns and Getting Building Funds boosting infrastructure, culture, independent retail and leisure, plus the creation of freeports. Nina Bryant finds out what it all means for business opportunity, regional economies and the communities they serve
On 19 July 2021, citizens celebrated the legal return to socialising in large groups in the way they knew best: by gathering in urban hostelries and squares. It was a sign that, despite 16 months of upheaval, people still clung to the town centre. Global civil society alliance Civicus calls civic spaces “the bedrock of any open and democratic society” and the Project for Public Spaces describes them as “an extension of the community”, contributing to their health “whether socially, economically, culturally or environmentally”.