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    Reframing high street viability: a review and synthesis in the English context

    Ntounis, Nikolaos ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2517-3031, Sonderland Saga, Regine, Warnaby, Gary ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6696-6671, Lorono Leturiondo, Maria and Parker, Catherine ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8072-269X (2023) Reframing high street viability: a review and synthesis in the English context. Cities, 134. p. 104182. ISSN 0264-2751

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    Abstract

    Changing consumer trends, waves of retail decentralisation, and various socio-economic and environmental shocks have exacerbated the well-recognised challenges of retail-dominant English high streets in recent years. The decline and ‘death’ of the high street has been the subject of many policy responses aiming at transforming high streets as viable multifunctional hubs and local community anchors. However, this vision implies a narrative change of high street viability beyond established economic and property-oriented interpretations, which is presently unclear in conceptual and operational terms. This paper identifies the conceptual ambiguities and tensions evident in English policy and reframes high street viability at the confluence of other ‘loose concepts’ (sustainability, resilience, adaptability, liveability). Through a scoping review, this paper synthesises studies discussing these interrelated concepts, and presents their development since the influential URBED Vital and Viable Town Centres report. We argue that the factors contributing to the interrelated concepts form a joint effort towards achieving high street viability, but can also be distinguished by temporal variations and areas of concentration.

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