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Wednesday, January 26, 2022


question to today's lse experts #urbanage

UK had "big society" debates like this 12 years ago as possible response to subprime's failure- in retrospect they did not sustain value public life space then - so are you expecting bankers of big city space to change now? economistyouth.com

UrbanAge: A global investigation into the future of #cities organised by @LSECities ... urbanage.LSECities.net Joined February 2016 ... Hosted by LSE Citie.


  1. Christian Bernert 08:25 AM
    The business area in the city centers must not create stress, but must offer relaxation!
    alan pullman 08:26 AM
    Adding to the loss of retail on main streets is the growing trend of remote work- in the US this is having a hugely negative effect on many once vibrant city districts. Beyond opening up housing opportunities, what other uses do we see reviving these important areas?
    Diana Maria Ramirez Daza 08:26 AM
    In developing countries, due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the income of small local retailers was more affected than big chains and big stores. In part, because these local retailers often offer less virtual shopping. How can urban design and local administrations, support the vulnerable local retailers that are so vital for the local economy and often so meaningful for the communities?

    christopher macrae (You) 08:30 AM
    UK had "big society" debates like this 12 years ago as possible response to subprime's failure- in retrospect they did not sustain value public life space then - so are you expecting bankers of big city space to change now? economistyouth.com
    Anna Prat 08:31 AM
    (similar to Sebestyen) If shops will be smaller and concentrated, what kind of public space can we imagine for urban areas that will lose their retail function (and connected emotion)? There should also be a positive way to think and design attractive public space without retail
    Marcel Winterhalder 08:32 AM
    OK, back to my comment:
    I agree that the actual city center (shopping area) should ideally be a pedestrian zone. But it needs to be reachable.
    And unfortunately, at least in Germany, cities develop a certain hostility to people comin into the city center by car. I understand that for various reasons public transport would be more advantageous for everyone except the individual who is meant to come to the city. But if a city makes it an expensive pain to go there (reducing parking space, placing unreasonably low speed limits on main (not the clearly residential) streets, people wil shun those places and rather go to malls etc. outside the cities.
    Damyanti Radheshwar 08:32 AM
    Damu Radheshwar, alumna from New York: we have been also discussing e-commerce leaving behind so much packaging material burdening the local community based sanitation departments and cost of the same. What are the examples to allocate these costs?
    Marcel Winterhalder 08:35 AM
    The "personal" aspects that Thomas is currently discussing apply to small towns, but not to large cities - at not in the last 20-30 years.

  2. Rhianna Weston 08:35 AM
    Rhianna Weston, MPlan student at University of Liverpool, UK. I agree that retail places and high streets need to connect more with local people. Many city centres have became too tourist-orientated and have neglected the local person. If designers, architects and planners applied the same concept to all shops rather than just 'Harry Potter themed shops' as an example, shops may achieve a higher footfall and therefore boost their revenue.
    Leigh Sparks 08:37 AM
    Following on Rhianna's question about tourism and non-localism. Does the panel think this means the need for regulation of things like AirBnB?
    Mark Atkinson 08:38 AM
    So much would be possible in high street retail spaces but the economic factors operating in urban centres mitigates against trial and experimentation. What can be done to re-balance the value of rents versus other types of value (social, public health, inclusion, community etc)?
    Christian Bernert 08:38 AM
    I think in any case the cheap 1 € stores and the fast food stores must be banned, because these destroy the necessary feeling of relaxation.
    Joanne Bywater 08:38 AM
    How do you incentivise landlords to allocate space that they consider as high value to lower margin or less consumerist businesses (or lower value from an economic perspective)?
    Christian Bernert 08:40 AM
    Downtowns must be understood as service centers.
    Mark Atkinson 08:40 AM
    Is there a risk that hyper-efficiency in using urban urban Centre spaces might lead to an erasure of the ‘grey areas’ that make cities interesting?

  3. Sebestyen Pfisztner 08:43 AM
    In my opinion fast fashion and the culture of replacement is rooted in the neoliberalist consumer economy, which is based on the (false) assumption that consumption leads to economic growth and indirectly leads to social benefits. Replacing items instead of repairing it, and consciously encouraging people to consume commodities they do not need is the basis of modern retail phiosophy.

    Sebestyen Pfisztner 08:45 AM
    Building on this, I anticipate that the envornmental pressure caused by the retail industry can only be alleviated by changeing the behaviour of consumers, and as such altering the main goals why, what and how people consume.
    Myfanwy Taylor 08:46 AM
    Myfanwy Taylor (University College London): There is a growing body of research which shows the value and contribution of markets and ethnically-diverse high street retailers, particularly important to low-income, migrant and BME communities. Yet these forms of retail are often ignored and marginalised in policy debates - I would be interested to hear the panel’s reflections on their potential contribution to more community-oriented high streets etc.
    Reconfigurable spaces, That are flexible and ''Responsive'' could present a solution, when are part of greater ecosystem, allowing emergent functions (operationally and operationally)
    emotionally and operationally *

    Rosa Danenberg 08:49 AM
    Rosa Danenberg PhD student at KTH. Question to all speakers: discussing the repair possibilities - how do you see the skills developed and supplied for repairing? Is there still skilled people available and willing to repair?

  4. Carol Rahn 08:50 AM
    How can we achieve the variety of uses that is being talking about so long as we tax based on the rental value of premises? In other words -- there is a lot of talk about replacing business rates with a completely different approach. How much placemaking can we do until we tackle that boring but essential task?
    Damyanti Radheshwar 08:50 AM
    Need to consider these closed spaces as activity spaces, like art classes where you can also meet for a drink. Wood workshop for hobbies, car repair and learning, foreign language workshop, math tuition spaces, etc…
    Mark Atkinson 08:52 AM
    Where I live and work, the wanted and needed businesses can’t afford to stay open. As a consequence we get a succession of multinationals coming and going, or boutique businesses that the majority of local people can’t afford. How can this be rebalanced?

    Zofia Mlocek 08:27 AM
    "Retail" is a very vast term. I would imagine (possibly wrong) that the shift to ecommerce impacted mainly larger scale retail, chains, department stores... Did COVID affect equally all types of retail? During the pandemics were (are) there types of retail that flourish?
    Christian Bernert 08:29 AM
    There must be lots of plants & flowers in the business areas, it must feel like you are walking in a botanical garden.
    Sebestyen Pfisztner 08:29 AM
    Jane Jacobs assumed that street-level economic activity, namely shopping was the main driver behind a healthy street activity and a healthy urban society. Does the move of retail into the online space means that the main drivers of vivid street life will disappear, or will they be replaced by other functions? What these functions could be?
    Mark Atkinson 08:08 AM
    Will physical retail rents decrease, allowing more experimentation and innovative/flexible uses?
    Jonathan De Mello 08:20 AM
    Yes - rents have actually fallen by 29% over the past 2 years and will likely fall by another 10%. A correction, essentially.
    Christian Bernert 08:08 AM
    Is it not necessary to check what we really need to produce? Doesn't it make sense to invest more in the sustainability of products and to develop the market accordingly? We have only one planet and we want to keep it habitable.
    Mark Atkinson 08:09 AM
    Is there a role for public/street markets in driving footfall to urban centers and providing opportunities for social interaction? If so will provisions be made for appropriate infrastructure (sanitation, storage etc)?
    Bronnie Edwards 08:10 AM
    Q for Andrew - Ecomm may have increased and in store purchasing decreased but do you allocate any value to the store for showrooming/browsing ? Hard to define the value of the store when point of sale is unclear.
    Christian Bernert 08:14 AM
    We need to ban traffic from shopping areas, so that customers can walk there without restraint. We need communication places where the shopping process becomes a side effect.
    Nicholas Falk 08:15 AM
    With so much private investment in the UK tied up in commercial property how can the owners and investors be encouraged to change before buildings rot or go up in flames? Surely we need a different approah in our smaller or local centres, where local authorities often have litlte capacity, and the city centres where perhaps property owners will have the incentive to change before it is too late?
    Graham Colclough 08:16 AM
    have the panel got any views or references to work that considers the reduction of personal trips for shopping & increase of delivery logistics - and the quantum effects on carbon, amongst other things?
    How can we reframe the Tenants-Landlord relationship to reflect and responds to the current change? Re-engineering the Lease Contract? (beyond simply percentage rent) . Thanks, Hussam Raouf
    Arushi Malhotra 08:17 AM


  5. Arushi Malhotra, Urban designer at Jacobs, Mumbai
    Considering rise in online shopping and how many markets and streets forcefully experimented with online local baskets and hybrid business models during the pandemic, what is the role of digital platforms, digital upskilling, and targeted business support in this regard for high street regeneration, specially for small and independent businesses.
    John of Hughes 08:17 AM
    In England shops can change to other uses without planning permission and the best price is now for residential. Will this have positive or negative effect?
    Sebestyen Pfisztner 08:20 AM
    Can architects and urban planners embrace emotional interactions with spaces without becoming less functional?
    Christian Bernert 08:21 AM
    Just think about it, why do customers like to shop at fresh mart stands? Customers want to have a little chat with the supplier and want fresh produce. For other stores in the city, this means new and interesting products that inspire customers. Coffee and small music events as local events in small groups.
    Kasir Ijaz 08:21 AM
    How do we create more authentic places if more and more of 'public space' is being transferred into private ownership and the power of local authorities is diminishing? We need spaces that people can 'play', innovate and create that do not have to be commodified.
    Monika Milewska 08:22 AM
    I loved Thomas’ comment on ‘emotion and function led placemaking’. My question is in relation to the need of minimising retail/rethinking it in relation to climate change. How can cities reinvent commercial spaces and streets in order to reduce the overall consumption based emissions and impacts of consumer culture?
    Dan Evans 08:23 AM
    Dr Dan Evans - Cranfield University. Could I ask the panel their views over whether COVID-19, the changes towards e-commerce, could release large parts of physical urban space for urban greening and access to soils? Urbanisation has paved over these soils, but these are the very resources needed to sustain urban populations. There are of course many benefits to introducing soils and green infrastructure back in our towns and cities, including the emotive benefits, linking back to Thomas' point earlier.

    Arushi Malhotra 08:24 AM
    Urban designer at Jacobs, Mumbai
    Question for Eva and Thomas. How would these “new business models” look like if high streets and town centres are to sustain hyper localism, multiple functions and offer more in terms of experience and emotion.