Better Towns Road Map by HLM Asset & Workplace Team

Innovative roadmap launched to lead the way towards better, healthier and more successful towns bettertowns.co.uk

Today sees the launch of a new and unique approach to support towns and the challenging journeys they face. The Better Towns Roadmap consortium has created a highly visual and interactive roadmap to help transform towns across the UK. The consortium brings experienced practitioners together with academics who share a passion for repurposing towns, rejuvenating forgotten spaces and engaging their communities.

A collaboration between HLM Architects, Didobi and realestateworks has developed a step-by-step roadmap to realise any town’s short or longer term goals. It creates clear links between a town’s vision, goals, and targeted outcomes, presenting customised outcomes that defy traditional ‘one size fits all’ approaches to regeneration, adaptation and change.

The decision to create #bettertowns was driven in part by frustration at the lack of effective collaboration across the industry and the desire to join up projects from their conception to delivery.

The belief is that multi-disciplinary, collaborative, data-driven approaches can transform any town’s prospects through a succession of deliverable projects linked by a unique vision.

The #bettertowns roadmap facilitates the successful repurposing of towns where rigour, process and logic are applied at every stage.

Each town’s journey proceeds by successively creating a baseline, defining a mission, appraising options, creating an action plan and delivering outcomes. Each step is further unpacked on the #bettertowns website and is supported by an extensive virtual library and self-assessment questionnaires.

Olivia Paine, HLM Architect’s Asset & Workplace Project Lead, has worked with many local authorities to help rationalise and revitalise their assets. She is passionate about the collaborative potential of #bettertowns which will help local authorities not only to achieve goals but to understand the process behind the journey:

“Towns have faced increasing challenges over the years and the current pandemic has seen a shift in the pace of change and an increased necessity for well-informed, connected local authorities. We understand that every town has the potential to be unique and welcome the return of ‘localism’ to the agenda. It is not about selling a generic product, it is about sharing knowledge and information to support towns achieving their desired outcomes.”

Brian Thompson, founding Director of realestateworks, a niche consultancy specialising in public sector and collaborative asset management, warns against quick fixes to systemic issues facing the sector:

“Every town is infuenced by but also shapes the economy of neighbouring towns and communities. We look beyond quick fixes and beyond simply the High Street for only by doing so can sustainable, viable, and long-lasting strategies be defined.”

Matthew Hopkinson, Co-Founder and Director at Didobi, is a well known and highly respected practitioner in this space having been involved in a number of High Street Reviews as well as having created data analytics, aide-memoires and research on towns:

“I am delighted that after a year of planning we are able to launch the Better Towns Roadmap. I believe that this highly visual, clearly staged and evidence driven approach is what our towns need in order to address the challenges they face today and in the future. It is a long journey and one that needs to be measured against key milestones if success is to be realised and I hope that by sharing the Better Towns Road Map approach we can support all towns on their journeys.”

A partnership with the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) brings additional benefits to towns and their communities by providing access to additional insights, tailored research, unique datasets and intelligence from the academic domain.

Professor Paul Longley, Director and Principal Investigator at the CDRC welcomes the opportunity to support the repurposing of towns using unique and timely analysis ready data:

“The CDRC is delighted to contribute to the Better Towns Roadmap consortium and strengthen academic links with businesses and local authorities, particularly at this challenging time. We believe that we bring in-depth expertise in data and analysis to this important initiative.”

The consortium will be crowdsourcing data via a self-assessment page on the website. Data will be captured from representatives of councils, businesses and communities on their towns in order to help understand the issues and opportunities that everybody faces. The data will be aggregated, analysed, anonymised and shared in order to better understand different perceptions of salient shared issues.

A frequently updated key publications library will be maintained on the website. This will help raise the overall level of awareness of the tools, techniques, guidance and success factors among those that share interest in creating better towns.

Visit www.bettertowns.co.uk for more information on the roadmap and details of the self-assessment.