Suzanne Hall and Nicolas Palominos presented early findings of their ‘Ordinary Streets’ research at the ‘High Street Futures’ expert scoping workshop held in London on the 25th and 26th of September 2012. The workshop, directed by Professors Neil Wrigley and Michelle Lowe, forms part of a major project by the Economic and Social Research Council into profound socio-economic shifts in UK town centres and high streets. Read more about it here.
On 12 September, LSE Cities researcher Antoine Paccoud was invited to present a unique methodology he developed for last year’s Urban Age conference on ‘Cities, Health and Well-being’ at the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) conference in Kiev. Using this methodology, researchers can construct comparable estimates of metropolitan health and wealth performance for a wide range of metropolitan regions globally. As Paccoud explains, ‘the crucial step is to develop a definition of a metropolitan region that can accommodate the wide variety of territorial administrative divisions and allow for the collection of statistical information.’ He coined this spatial unit ‘the Extended Metropolitan Region’ (EMR). The abstract of his paper can be found here, which is soon to be submitted for publication.
An important aspect of the Extended Metropolitan Region is the maps, which show clearly urban density across 12 international cities and their EMRs. The result is an instantaneous snapshot of the human footprint, a simplified visual compared to confusing topographical photos. These maps have been featured by design-platforms far and wide, including FastCoDesign, FlowingData and Shareable.net.
On 5 September, LSE Cities hosted ‘No High Street Left Behind’, a masterclass organised by the Association of Town Centre Management. David Morris from the Department for Communities & Local Government provided further details of the package of support available to Town Teams across England, in the wake of the Mary Portas review on the future of the UK’s high streets. He explained the thinking behind the additional £5.5m which the government has made available to “inspire innovation and confidence across the nation” at a time of deep economic recession.
Also featuring speakers Gilbert Rochecouste, founder of The Village Well, an Australian-based placemaking consultancy, and Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of the Manchester-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies, the event looked at the future of towns and high streets in the UK and what lessons could be drawn from abroad. Presentations of the event have been made available.