The forgotten fringes of city and town living


Exeter Retail Park situated on western edge of city centre - and ten minutes walk from Exeter St Thomas station - an example of a successful development owned by Aviva Investors

Why are the fringes of cities and towns so often overlooked for good planning and design? Future Cities Forum has been talking to one of our architectural members Stride Treglown about the reasons and what can be done. Associate Nik Hoggarth described the context and the challenges:

'Following the relaxation of planning laws in the late 1980s, a decentralised retail offer emerged with a burgeoning development of out of town shopping centres and open air retail parks. De-industrialisation created surplus, underutilised land on the edge of urban areas. This was repurposed and provided businesses with an opportune way to distribute goods, as well as a convenient way for their customers to shop.

'And so, for the latter part of the last century, the periphery of towns and cities has been a utopia of the private vehicle. In the UK, ring roads are peppered with open air retail parks and out of town shopping centres near housing estates. They have provided a cost effective and convenient alternative for people to