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The future of towns 3.83 MB

This report explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of UK towns. The authors have developed a new typology of towns, and provide in-depth analysis of the challenges facing different town types. 

Key findings:

  1. Different towns have different needs: ex-industrial towns face particular challenges and should be a priority for investment.
  2. However, there is surprisingly little variation by town type in terms of preferences regarding the future of their town.
  3. That’s not to say people in towns are united behind a clear vision of what they want their towns to look like: they are simply divided within towns rather than between them.
  4. Designing policies for the future of towns that unite people in them will be a tough task. Different groups are diametrically opposed across many areas.
  5. Attitudes regarding diversity will be a key issue to address - half of the population are very open to new people coming into their towns, half are strongly opposed.


  1. Town leaders to engage their residents and local business leaders in an open, participatory conversation about the future of the high street.
  2. Ex-industrial towns to be a priority for investment.
  3. Central government investment in towns to be conditional on buy-in​ ​from the local community and business leaders.
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