We’re pleased to see the Centre for Ageing Better’s new report examining how high streets are used to improve the overall health of local communities. The report focuses on reviewing the evidence on healthy high streets in urban settings, saying that “good quality design and furniture in local high streets that provide accessible, safe, communal spaces foster social interaction and strong local economies and can be used to create healthier, safer and more cohesive local communities”.
We couldn’t agree more, especially as we’re being made aware of many of the same issues in rural areas through our Rural Wisdom work, as well as through other work with Outside the Box (Rural Wisdom partner) relating to what makes people feel socially included.
The report highlights many aspects of high street design & environment which affects mental & physical health & how small changes can make a big difference to the accessibility of the high street; often changes which in fact are beneficial to all not just those with particular needs. Importantly it also highlights health inequalities, acknowledging that “poor and disadvantaged communities are more likely to live in areas that have poor-quality built environments, including local high streets”.
We hope that this report helps to build understanding of the link between health & the high street in both urban & rural contexts.