High Streets across the United Kingdom are facing multiple pressures: changing shopping habits,the coronavirus pandemic as well as wider economic impacts. To respond, we need to radically rethink how our high streets and town centres operate.
Many high streets contain too much retail space and are designed more for cars than for people. This shift away from retail can be an opportunity for other more social and civic uses to evolve, so that our town centres once again become ‘activity-based community gathering places’.
One place with these issues is the midtown area of Dover. It is replanned to include a community arts centre, a civic building, a library and a coworking building (in a reused 1960’s office). At the centre of the proposal is a new green space formed by naturalising the River Dour. This will provide recreation space and much needed wildlife and ecological value whilst releasing land in the flood plain for the development of housing.
The new uses are linked by a series of public routes and spaces: growing spaces, parklets and walking and cycling routes to form a network of green throughout the midtown area.
The Dover Midtown proposal was the winner of the RIBA Journal Future High Streets competition.
Client: RIBA Journal / Dover Council
Architect: New Makers Bureau
Type: Civic & Community