Snug Architects director, Paul Bulkeley, launched the first event of Futures of Capitalism last night. The City Walks event was the first in a year-long series of events, sponsored by Winchester Cathedral, the University of Winchester and Winchester Business Improvement District, culminating in a major conference in April 2014.
The series, conceived in the wake of the Occupy protests, aims to make a positive contribution to the national debate on the reform and renewal of the economy. The series includes lectures, discussions and opportunities for informal learning, and connects to the City’s agenda for economic prosperity and wellbeing.
The walk looked at the development of the city and how the buildings and the environment are driven by and interact with the economic issues of the times, providing an opportunity to consider the future of the high street. The hour long walk was followed by a stimulating discussion on the future of the high street and generated some exciting new ideas which we now hope to progress with the city council and BID.
Key ideas were:
Increasing ‘friction’ – creating a city centre where people want to dwell, extend their stay and take their time.
Rapid Reaction Economics – a place where the institutions and entrepreneurs respond diurnally, weekly and seasonally to opportunity. Can our retail spaces react at short notice to realise the potential offered by a sunny day for example?
Pop-up – can we create the policies and infrastructure that allow pop-up shops, pop-up events and flexible opening hours that allow us to seize the extra economic opportunities offered by temporary events and build on the success of the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, London 2012 big screens and Hat Fair.
City Living, City Working – Can we get more people to live and work in the city centre. They are the ones who will use the city centre throughout the day.
City Living Room – can we cultivate a culture where people leave the privacy of their living room and spend their evenings enjoying the city ‘living room’. A place to relax, browse and meet.
Easy Access – can we make it easier to get to town in the evening by bus, bike and foot. Perceptions are everything.
Thank you to all those who attended and to the Winchester Discovery Centre for hosting the event.
You can find out more about the upcoming events in the series at http://futuresofcapitalism.com