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The importance of collective action to improve footfall

28 February 2018

Last year the UK saw a decline in Christmas shopping in high streets. Is it because of online shopping? The weather? No, expert Simon Quin argues. ‘This decline is a longtime in the making. The fundamental reason high streets are struggling is that decision makers and stakeholders do not adapt effectively, because they don’t act collectively.’


> Services, work together! ‘High streets and town centers represent a whole ‘bundle of benefits’ including employment, education, healthcare, leisure, shopping, eating and drinking. And this means, for the location to be more successful, the providers of these individual services need to learn to work together more effectively.’


> No rocket science. Simon Quin and his organization Institute of Place Management, IPM studied actions that increase footfall. They identified 25 priorities. ‘Although the research was carried out scientifically, the findings were anything but rocket science. Many high street retailers, elected councillors, planning officers or shoppers concerned about their high street can guess them. However, all of the interventions we identified require the type of collective decision making and action the current governance arrangements in many towns and cities just cannot seem to facilitate’, says Quin.


> New governance and place management models needed. What we should do is clear enough, how to do it is a big challenge. Quin: ‘As collaboration is key to success then new governance and place management models are needed. We expect more locations will adopt the Business Improvement District model, but we also predict that individuals who understand high street change, have the skills to facilitate collaboration and coordinate action at a local level. This will be an important part of the on-going high street story.’



About Simon Quin. Simon Quin is a recognized international authority on urban place management. He has more than 25 years of experience in the field. He co‐founded the Institute of Place Management (IPM): an organization that supports people working to make places better, and is a founding editor of the Journal of Place Management and Development.


A key speaker at ICRE2018. During ICRE2018 Simon Quin will present High Street UK 2020, a knowledge  exchange project. He and his team researched factors that affect performance of town and city centers, resulting into a top 25.



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