Start Up Street starts up

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‘Start Up Street’ is an idea to bring new ideas to old places. It is a service which matches people with ideas for change with empty spaces in the city. It has developed in Stirling in response to the changing conditions of the city centre, and through active engagement with the citizens of the city who want change to happen. It is one of the projects recently highlighted in the A+DS ‘High Street’ exhibition.

A+DS has been involved in the development of ‘Start Up Street’ with partners in Stirling Council, the communities of the city, We are Snook service designers, Ice Cream architecture running the Somewhereto initiative and the Stirling Creative Industries Forum. Starting with the idea of how to create and support new uses to deliver social impact through enterprise and entrepreneurship, ‘Start Up Street’ shapes the brief for how the spaces of the street respond.

The ‘Start Up Street’ service is developing as a series of prototypes, some focusing on the service design, some focusing on the spatial and building issues, some focusing on the governance issues. The learning from each prototype informs ongoing improvement to ensure that the final product is sustainable, and gives users the best chance of success.

‘Made in Stirling’ is the first pop up shop unit to come forward through the ‘Start Up Street’ initiative. This unit, located in Murray Place, Stirling supports almost 20 creative businesses. It was delivered in partnership with the communities and local businesses of the city as a collaborative project. The businesses within the unit collaborate as a means of stimulating new ideas and sharing knowledge.

The future of the High Street is about thinking differently, as summarised in this reflection from the High Street summit between the Centre for Scottish Public Policy and A+DS in Spring 2012. Conserving the rich architectural and urban form qualities of the High Street means tackling the challenge of the street from a number of angles, at the same time. This includes supporting new uses, engaging people differently and creative thinking about how to use building and street assets. In this context, Start Up Street forms a contribution to a landscape of new ideas like RetailRocks! in Aberdeen, the West Kilbride craft town, the work of IOTA In Inverness and work led by artist Matt Baker in Dumfries to re-think the High Street as a place that people want to be.

Newstart Magazine, the online publication of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies have published an article on ‘Start Up Street’ as part of their ongoing series on the High Street. The article can be viewed here.

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Place and leadership

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