Every week we’re told how the internet is killing off town centres, how the web is suffocating shops and how locals are fleeing our retail hubs for soulless out of town monoliths.
But town centres have started getting rather web savvy. In the last few weeks Spacehive has seen high street brightening project ideas popping up from Edinburgh to Ealing. Over in Mansfield they’re even crowdfunding a free WiFi network for the town.
Until 1995, Mansfield was the largest UK town not to have a train station. But now the Nottinghamshire centre is embracing the web to attract more visitors; letting them surf while they shop and grab a bite to eat.
The town received a £10,000 grant as part of the Portas Pilots and is using Spacehive to make it go further. It’s a great example of how crowdfunding can help communities get more bang out of limited government bucks.
But Mansfield is just the beginning. We reckon crowdfunding has real potential to breathe life back into our high streets. To make it happen we’re partnering with Mary Portas’ Town Teams, a host of Business Improvement Districts, and innovative regeneration agenices like Meanwhile Space.
Already some sparky ideas are emerging. We’ve got an old phone box transformed into a gallery in Edinburgh, an empty shop converted into a buzzing hub for young entrepreneurs, and a free town centre music festival to pull in the crowds.
Got a high street boosting project idea of your own? Click here to whizz it onto Spacehive in a flash.