Creating thriving high streets after Covid-19: a new research network launching on 13 May

Start date: 
Thu, 13/05/2021
Closing date: 
Thu, 13/05/2021
Event contact: 
Julian Dobson (

The context

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted continuing fractures and socioeconomic challenges in contemporary society, accelerating processes of change that were already underway. The traditional high street, with its focus on retail and leisure, has been particularly hard hit. The debate over its future brings together questions of social and economic equity, spatial planning and management, public health and climate change adaptation. This is fertile ground for researchers with potential for direct impact and wider public engagement.

The idea

We (a group of researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, working in the Department of the Natural and Built Environment and the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research) are hoping to bring together researchers from the UK and beyond to share research interests and agendas, map the current state of research on high streets and town centres, and build a network to facilitate academic exchange, collaborative projects and partnerships beyond academia. To begin with, we hope to discover what questions are currently being researched, and where, in order to identify gaps and opportunities. From this basis we will develop research proposals with potential to outline alternative futures for traditional town and city centres.

The next steps

We are holding an online event to launch the network on the morning of Thursday 13 May. The event will take the form of a series of ‘lightning talks’ from researchers already engaged in this space, followed by an open discussion.

More details

Please contact Jill Dickinson, Julian Dobson (, Cristina Cerulli or Julia Udall for more information, and please fill in our online form if you'd like to join us.

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