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November 24, 2015

It’s a shopfront revival

Art and architecture are being combined to give London's streets a lift.

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The streets of Tottenham – about half an hour out of central London – are suffering the same fate as some of Adelaide’s quieter districts, with run-down shopfronts turning away potential customers.

Adelaide City Council has launched a Shopfront Improvement Grant scheme (for which the first round of applications has closed) to encourage businesses to redress this issue. Offering a co-investment of up to $6000, the Council asks retailers to propose frontage re-designs and then match the funding offered by Council.

Over in England, the Tottenham Regeneration Programme and Mayor of London are going one step further in high street regeneration by (almost) fully financing shopfront transformations overseen by a single architecture practice.

Spearheaded by architecture firm You&me – who were selected via a tender process – the Tottenham Shopfronts project is gaining global acclaim for its whimsical and magnetic aesthetic, and has additional impact because the chosen frontages are clustered.

The process of picking certain shops, to the exclusion of others, and almost completely funding their overhaul would certainly be met with a high decibel outcry in Adelaide. But perhaps weathering storms of anger is what we’ll have to do to achieve outcomes that are world class.

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