Re-imagine your High Street workshop

This workshop offers residents and other stakeholders the opportunity to plan and manage their community by building on, enhancing and developing their local high street and surrounding areas – with an emphasis on creating a low-carbon, high well-being local economy. Workshop Participants re-imagine their High Street by exploring some practical economics and using the Five ways to Well Being. The workshop is physical, visual and interactive and particpants will “build” their new High Street.

Objectives

The tool supports various stakeholders including residents, local business owners, the public and third sector in a locality to:

  • develop greater understanding of the principles of low carbon, high well-being economies;
  • create a visual representation of their High Street designed around the principles of supporting high levels of well being, and reducing environmental impact;
  • explore the relationships between physical and non physical assets;
  • explore the necessity for an holistic approach to regenerating High Streets, particularly investigating the relationships between cultural, educational, health, housing, security, food, shopping and sporting activities and how they too interact with a local economy with the aim of increasing well being;
  • identify actions people are passionate about;

Outcomes

Participants will have a greater understanding of:

  • the complexity and worth of their High Streets;
  • the value of involving residents and their greater networks in High Street/local economic development;
  • money and resource flows into and out of a local economy;
  • the time, resources and energy required to re-imagine their High Street;
  • some nef tools and beliefs around triple bottom line outcomes, well being and low carbon economies.

New ideas and projects will be generated, and each participant takes away a personal intervention regarding their own community.

Recent Workshops

We used the Re-imagine Your High Street workshop to explore ideas with 120 children from Dewsbury as part of a Master planning process in 2010. The children, after working with their teacher the previous day to select a one of the 5 ways to well-being they were going to explore in groups, they went around their high street to document buildings and streetscape. In a workshop session they then were asked to consider what they would want in Dewsbury town centre in 10 years time, and to think about what changes to the local infrastructure would be necessary to grow a greater sense of well-being in local residents. Some of the ideas which emerged included  a talent tower where we could be the best we could be, a gym for all ages, a museum shop and café, cycle track and a running track, allotments, sculptures and artists workshops, music venue, fruit trees and a swop shop.

We also worked with residents in Tooting, who used the workshop to re-imagine Tooting high street. Participants re-designed their local infrastructure using the 5 ways to well-being as the aim for a re-imagined high street and some of the fabulous ideas included, a tooting Eden project, an outdoor gym, and outdoor cinema, a star gazing space, more people friendly streets and more greenery and trees.