The Future Spaces Foundation has estimated that towns and cities could be boosted by up to £30 million through realising knowledge economy opportunities.
The newly founded think tank’s inaugural report, ‘The Future High Street: Perspectives on living, learning and livelihoods in our communities’, uses an economic model with the emphasis on business services and the knowledge economy. The model was applied to three example UK towns and cities: Barnsley, Swindon and Stoke-on-Trent. In Stoke-on-Trent, the annual increase to the local economy was found to reach £30.3 million with the number of new jobs created totalling 642.
Based on these findings, The Future Spaces Foundation is calling for three things:
- A renewed focus on bringing learning opportunities into the centre of towns and cities when considering the expansion of existing facilities or development of new ones
- Greater community empowerment in the planning process, including the formation of a youth consultation panel to ensure the opinions of future generations are considered
- Simplification of planning processes to enable town centre buildings and sites to be converted to uses that match demand
The report’s chapters are: Public services and community cohesion; Commercial drivers and employment; Accessibility and transport; Wellbeing and health; Conclusions and concepts in practice; Where we go from here.
The Future Spaces Foundation was established in 2013 by Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make Architects, to undertake new thinking to inform the future of the spaces we live in.
The Foundation is made up of an independent panel of experts. The diverse nature of the panel is intended to allow the Foundation can to explore a wide range of socio-economic, demographic and technological factors that affect the way we live and work and the impact they have on the spaces we live in.
The Foundation’s aim is to contribute to existing debates, whilst looking beyond short-term solutions to generate new ideas. Ultimately, the Foundation hopes to create an environment where smart design enables strong communities and allows people to live and work in first class spaces.
The Foundation's report is available as a free download from its website: