High Streets Adaptive Strategies

Innovative strategies to support the long-term sustainability and diversity of London’s high streets

Underpinned by a belief in the public value of London’s high streets and town centres, our latest research publication for the GLA proposes innovative, evidence-based strategies to support the diversity and longevity of our unique high streets in the face of significant challenges.

Commissioned as part of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth by Design programme and led by Gort Scott, the collaborative report responds to current threats to our high streets – including changes to retail and working patterns, technological advances and austerity measures. The urgent need for housing is also drastically reshaping town centres, and the climate emergency calls for more sustainable models of living, working and commuting, and presents an opportunity to review our current models.

High Street Ecosystem Diagram
HSAS Diagram
Delivering the digital vision
Adaptable floor plate for varied uses
The long-term mission illustration

High streets are highly social, diverse and accessible spaces. As such, they have a crucial role in supporting social, economic and environmental benefits across London’s neighbourhoods. London’s high streets are an effective and spatial catchment where it is possible to respond locally to far-reaching, wider societal issues.

Quote from report, p21

Our research establishes 10 key case studies from across the capital, including Stratford High Street and Old Kent Road, that collectively reflect the range of profound challenges faced by all 600 high streets across London. The proposals draw on national and international references as evidence-based examples and considers how these strategies can be adopted and adapted for the 10 case studies.

Through a pragmatic yet ambitious approach, the document makes a strong case for investment and provides the necessary support for all boroughs and key agencies to engage in London’s high streets and respond to the many local and global challenges they face. Adaptive strategy implementation will be an iterative, continuous process, and this document shows that the future lies in collaboration and a mission-orientated approach to innovation.

Areas of cultural consumption intersecting with London’s high street, 2019
Local-level indices of multiple deprivation intersecting with London’s high streets, 2019

The publication forms part of Gort Scott’s ongoing research enquiry into securing the longevity of our high streets and town centres, which began with our 2010 High Streets Agenda publication for DfL.

Further information


Project type
Urban design
Completed, 2020


Greater London Authority
Gort Scott Team
Fiona Scott, Susie Hyden, Pamela Snow
We Made That (urban research collaborator), Hatch (Evaluation), Mariana Mazzucato (Expert advisor), Dan Hill (Expert Advisor), Adam Scott (Expert Advisor)

Related Projects

High Street London