First Person: Philip Garton - All must work together if city is to succeed
The future of the high street is a matter of concern across the country. How do some places seem unaffected by the recession that surrounds us all? We see companies we have always known disappearing and we wonder what will happen next.
We need to remember it has always been like this. Many readers may remember Timothy Whites or Freeman Hardy & Willis. Our high streets are always changing, sometimes faster and sometimes more slowly.
There are so many different groups involved in bringing a city to life. They include government (both local and national), finance firms, developers, retailers and, not least, citizens.
Each group has different objectives and yet they must all work together if the city is to be successful. The aim is to have a city that is both socially successful in bringing people together and economically viable, so businesses will invest in its development.
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Leicester has sometimes been at the forefront of innovation. The Tesco store in Lee Circle and the Haymarket are two examples.
But the city cannot stand still. The Haymarket project is now 40 years old and could benefit from some regeneration.
In today's city, the Highcross is a better reflection of the expectations of the current generation of shoppers but it, too, will need to be kept up to date.
Any city is, however, more than its stock of shops and it is critical to recognise the leisure and economic aspects.
Green shoots are appearing. The redevelopment of the market and the potential for developing historic aspects of the city as a source of tourism are two examples of how we might move forward for the next generation.
These separate developments need to be linked together to create a synergy that benefits all. It is of little use creating nice little islands that stand in areas that are seen as less attractive. People will just not flow between them.
To link these ideas requires a vision that can bring the various interested groups together. The aim has to be the creation of a city fit for the future.
The strategy will need to recognise that accessibility is an important key to bringing in tourism revenue.
As costs rise for both families and businesses, the city will need to provide an environment that attracts activity.
Whatever the final balance becomes, the city's users will expect a clean, comfortable and enjoyable environment.
The chosen arrangement will need to be flexible enough to allow everyone to benefit from their experience of Leicester if it is to be truly fit for the future.
Philip Garton is principal lecturer in retailing at Leicester Business School, De Montfort University.