Over the years, GreenBlue Urban have widely echoed the numerous worldwide studies on the importance of having trees in retail areas; proving that the presence of healthy mature trees positively influences shopping behaviour. These studies showed that customers are willing to pay 9 to 12% more for goods and services in a shopping area with large, well-cared for trees.
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Sadly, as we know, the COVID pandemic has had a profound impact on our already struggling towns and cities. With an average 88% reduction in footfall across UK high streets and 75.9% on larger city centres, we clearly face one of the biggest retail challenges seen since the arrivals of the department store, out of town retail parks and of course, online shopping.
Plainly, changes need to occur to reinvent these areas to provide an inclusive space for a wider range of users, and indeed, uses. The first “lockdown” saw several bespoke temporary solutions that re-evaluated how much public space was needed for vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. With a £2 billion government package to increase cycling and walking, we started to see pop-up bike lanes with protected space for more sustainable travel methods including wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors. The siting of parklets were becoming more frequent and the term the 15-minute city was now being considered as a local possibility to help combat climate change.
But what of the historic humble retailer? The sharp decline in our shopping streets has seen many much loved names leave our town centres, a reduction of multiples (with some premises now being occupied by local independent businesses), but also new pop-ups, and unique customer experiences. In safer times GreenBlue hopes to see the return of the street market, attracting localised custom and restored social interaction. Outdoor open spaces need to be used more effectively for health and wellbeing, training equipment available for all ages and public areas enhanced for educational purposes. GreenBlue Urban believes that there will be many more urban pedestrianised areas with dedicated nearby areas for EV Charging – recreating our town centres as destinations where we want to be and want to stay.
As our town and cities must become truly resilient multi-functional places for all users, continued government funding is vital; our local authorities need to be taking a lead communicating with residents and local businesses – how to effectively engage and assess the requirements for our future towns and high streets. It is also important to make sure that we do not forget the ongoing need for green infrastructure and management of stormwater to combat the climate change emergency and plan for net zero by 2030.
With the emphasis of adapting to change, GreenBlue Urban is excited to launch its new range of street furniture collections, designed to further enhance public realm urban tree planting and landscaping projects.
StreetPark offers a range of innovative and extremely cost-effective urban furniture solutions including benches, litter bins, bicycle stands, tree surrounds, information boards, bus shelters, tables and drinking fountains. All products are available in a variety of wood and metal finishes, allowing designers to not only enhance but add a wow factor to any scheme; not just beautiful but functional but ergonomically designed for comfort. The StreetPark range is an exclusive GreenBlue Urban brand offering to the UK – please let us help you revive your city in a truly stylish and sustainable way!