In late last October I presented at a session here at the University of Stirling on Retailing, towns and healthy ageing. After my presentation I got into conversation with one of the audience members, Alexandra Forrest, as she had been interested in what I had to say about retailing and towns.
Alexandra runs a podcast exploring new ideas for the high street with a focus on independent retailing and the entrepreneurs with new ideas to grow our high streets. Her podcast entitled Independent Thinking can be found here.
So a couple of months later I sat down (virtually) with Alexandra to chat about what I had said in my talk and about my views generally on the high street and independent retailing. We covered a fair bit of ground – discussing poor planning decisions that have led us to the proliferation of retail parks (and why none of these decisions were/or have to be inevitable), why collaboration amongst small independent businesses is important to the health of the high street, the resurgence of localism as well as business rates and how we could build a more progressive (business) taxation system . We also considered the role of active travel in reshaping places and making spaces that are more enjoyable, comfortable, and safe for people to spend time. In short, a summary of the sort of things that interest me and have featured in this blog.
Alexandra’s summary of the discussion:
“This week we’re talking the power of localism, collaboration in retail and why a bleak future isn’t inevitable for the high street, as we sit down in conversation with Professor Leigh Sparks – Professor of Retail studies and Deputy Principal of University of Stirling.
In this fascinating episode, Leigh talks brilliantly about the choices that have brought us to where we are, and how we too can choose a different future for ourselves when it comes to reinvigorating town and city centres – as we discuss systemic change, holding multinationals to account, community action and why Starbucks’ drive-thrus aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…“
Well, the podcast has now gone live and you can hear for yourselves what we talked about, just click the link here.
There are now over 5 series in the podcast and if you want a look on aspects of independent retailing and high streets and town centres then take a listen to what a range of people have to say (plus me)