Has the age of the internet killed our high streets? Have our town and city centres become obsolete?
How to Save Our Town Centres delves below the surface of empty buildings and ‘shop local’ campaigns to focus on the real issues: how the relationship between people and places is changing; how business is done and who benefits; and how the use and ownership of land affects us all.
Written in an engaging and accessible style and illustrated with numerous original interviews, the book sets out a comprehensive and coherent agenda for long-term, citizen-led change. It will be a valuable resource for policymakers and researchers in planning, architecture and the built environment, economic development and community participation.
Part One: Today
It took a riot;
Thanks for the memories;
To market, to market;
Lost in the supermarket;
Part Two: Tomorrow
Raise a glass to the new economy;
The unexpected buzz in the library;
The space in between;
A place to live;
Reclaiming the land;
If we had a little money;
From ‘me’ towns to ‘we’ towns.
“It’s brilliant. I recommend it hugely. Buy copies for everyone on your local council.” Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Network
"From Brixton to Brazil, Julian Dobson provides a positive plethora of examples from the retail world to help illustrate what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to saving town centres." European Journal of Current Legal Issues
“This is a fascinating and important book - a primer for the reinvigoration of local economies and high streets. At last a refreshing alternative to the official narrative of the decline of the high street.” Anna Minton, writer, journalist and Visiting Professor at the University of East London, UK
"The book is an impassioned plea for a new approach to high streets, based on a lifetime of research, consultancy and observations of what makes high streets tick." People, Place and Policy
“A significant and important book that is entertainingly and engagingly written. Julian Dobson critiques, dissects and then rebuilds the state of our high streets and town centres, arguing coherently for new, locally based, ground-up reconstruction of place and community and challenges us all to get involved.” Professor Leigh Sparks, Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, UK
"The debate about high streets has become completely stuck. By setting it in a wider context about the places we might want to live in the future, Julian Dobson has relaunched it in a really exciting way." David Boyle, author, and fellow of the New Economics Foundation