Community-powered property: three lessons from Liverpool and the Wirral

1 unblocker (1)

Liverpool and the Wirral are regions rich with history, culture, and resilience. In recent times, they’ve become beacons of innovation, demonstrating how community-driven initiatives can reshape the narrative of town centres and high streets. 

A new blog series by Platform Places – of which Radix Big Tent is a founding partner – is a testament to this transformation, and is inspired by a visit that I made with their network of community leaders, local authorities, asset owners, artists and local business owners in April, kindly hosted by Make CIC:

Part 1: ‘“The Unblocker”: The council’s role in unlocking town centre property’

To enable more community businesses to access town centre property, the council needs to be an unblocker: a partner that trusts its local business leaders and helps them secure space. Here’s an example from the Wirral that shows us how…

Part 2: ‘Patient, Local, Relational Funds: Reviving town centres by supporting community business’

A thriving high street needs community businesses. In turn, these businesses need an investment ecosystem that values and waits for social (not just financial) return: one that provides a leg-up to unlock buildings and fill them with amazing, impactful ideas. Here’s how an initiative in the Liverpool city region is getting it right…

Part 3: ‘Sustainable high streets need solutions, not sacrifices’

Liverpool and the Wirral have amazing examples of community-powered town centre buildings, which generate vibrancy, footfall and social impact. But here, like across the UK, the over-reliance on the personal sacrifice of inspiring, tenacious community leaders is unsustainable. Instead, the town centre property system needs long-term solutions. Luckily, these exist…

With high street vacancies at a critical rate, the need for community-centric solutions has never been more urgent. Partnerships between councils, asset owners, community leaders and funders hold the key to reimagining and unlocking town centre buildings.

And that is one of the most hopeful signs that – whoever wins the next election – real change is on the way.

Picture by Visual Thinkery. 

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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