Town centre futures: Evidence and ideas for recovery

This report was commissioned by Cross River Partnership to enable its members and partners to think through and respond to the potential impact of the pandemic on London. It puts forward practical recommendations to improve London's town centres today and in the near future.

London has always been a place of rapid change, but the pandemic has presented opportunities to rethink how the city functions, and how people work, live and travel. The city’s many town centres will need to respond and adapt to its lasting impact, as well as long term challenges such as the climate crisis and the growth of online retail.

Through a thematic evidence review, this report summarises the changes town centres have seen during the pandemic and uses case studies to look at the different challenges and opportunities for medium and large town centres across the city.

Our recommendations

We’ve offered detailed, practical steps that London government, Business Improvement Districts, businesses and partners could take to improve London’s town centres in 2021 and 2022, under the following headlines:

  1. Support London’s creatives;
  2. Boost outdoor eating and drinking options;
  3. Create new ways to involve local people;
  4. Optimise freight and deliveries;
  5. Create new workspaces for remote workers;
  6. Make roads healthier and more child friendly;
  7. Improve amenities for visitors and workers;
  8. Transfer assets to community groups;
  9. Improve lighting of the public realm;
  10. Increase meanwhile and temporary use of vacant spaces;
  11. Increase access to health services on the high street.


This report was commissioned by