Published: September, 2017
The high street is facing tough times. Apart from some very fashionable town centres in popular and well-healed parts of the country, the on-line shopping revolution is seriously hurting
The hurting has generated some very valiant schemes improving the browsing experience for those addicted to shopping. It is unlikely that they will turn the clock back, or even turn the tide.
Following the industrial revolution townscapes burgeoned then declined and, in many instances, remain rather threadbare and less than thriving relics of past prosperity.
Jack Pringle, MD at Perkins + Will, Architects, in an article (Building, 21.07.2017) effectively outlines the philosophy that is bearing fruit in Margate’s current renaissance. ‘Margate Bay, topped and tailed by the Turner Contemporary and Dreamland, seems to have come alive in a new dawn for the town’. In what he describes as a ‘model for culture led revival’ the town has attracted life changing investment in visual arts, music, entertainment and lifestyle. Still a work in progress, Jack comments that ‘It’s all about turning Margate into a great place to live and work, as well as a great place to visit. And once the 140 mph Javelin trains can speed all the way down from St Pancras, it will be a great place to commute from too’
Margate’s example neatly illustrates the profound realignment of focus for success in urban revival. Reversing the reducing footfall of conventional town centres, Margate has rising property values driven by the sweet smell of success - a success deriving from an ambience of ‘Wellness’. Instead of being an old curiosity shop, Margate can now justifiably claim to be a cultural hub as good as any in UK.
The notion of a ‘culture led revival’ must be engaging many civic and town planning professionals as the electronic market reduces the profitability of retail emporia. Public realm regeneration will have to specifically target a change from a transport hub servicing shops to a magnet for cultural, entertainment and socialising facilities. The ‘Wellness’ factor, provided by open and green town centre spaces will act as a catalyst to draw the punters.
Today, the greening of the urban environment is recognised as a major contributor to regeneration projects improving the sustainability ratings of towns and cities. Support for biophilic design, which meets humanity’s need for connection with nature and other forms of life, is growing. The tangible stimulus of regenerated, green and pleasant urban environments has reversed the downward post-industrial spiral. This is a self-sustaining virtuous circle with growing momentum and increasing benefits to meet the expectation of residents and workers for the ambience of natural surroundings.
It might be said that Kinley have an unfair advantage with their base in the beautiful East Sussex, Rother Valley A.O.N.B. Their steady stream of innovative outdoor construction products testifies to the gain from working in an inalienable ‘Wellness’ environment. Ranging from sustainable aluminium Kinley ExcelEdge landscape edgings, through sustainable and safety assured Kinley Terrafina decking materials, to their seriously innovative Kinley Raaft total terrace construction package deals, Kinley research is directly related to innovative ways to further the urban renewal scene. Kinley Raaft support structures, especially, transform major challenges into cost effective and sustainable exterior construction solutions.