Putting outdoor social spaces back into our new town and city centres
Many of the UK’s town and city centres are going through a major reinvention. The impact of the Covid pandemic, on top of the constant change we see in working arrangements and consumer behaviour, is heralding a new era for our urban centres where indoor and outdoor spaces combine seamlessly.
Rather than resigning ourselves to this period of change as a ‘decline’ for our town centres, which reflects a desire to cling on to bygone days, the approach that many local authorities and commercial developers are taking is much more forward-looking.
With a focus on creating attractive places in which people will live, work, learn and socialise, the process of redefining the purpose of town centres and how we make use of them is already under way in locations such as Stockton-on-Tees, Inverness, Wigan and Barnsley.
And one thing that is common in these schemes, as well as many individual developments such as new business parks and revamping of established retail parks, is the provision of more and better equipped outdoor spaces for people to use.
The pandemic was a catalyst for many people reconnecting with the outdoors and we have grown used to having good quality facilities available to us outside. This came on the back of a rapidly growing outdoor events industry which, in the years running up to the pandemic, was already booming with countless music and cultural festivals, farmers markets and social fitness initiatives, such as park runs.
As site owners and developers have seen how much the public value outdoor spaces, it is no surprise that we are now seeing new masterplans and site designs routinely created with public areas such as plazas, courtyards, parks, landscaped areas, terraces and even dedicated multi-purpose fitness facilities.
Making these outdoor spaces truly versatile is the addition of a power infrastructure. By providing power sockets which are permanently installed, either hidden in the ground or integrated into bollards, a site’s potential is maximized. For example, power connectivity is always ready for use for purposes such as market stalls, food and drink vending, performance areas and music stages, lighting and digital signage.
This is why developers are increasingly unlocking a site’s potential with a power infrastructure that features products from the Pop Up Power Supplies® range of pop up, in-ground and bollard power units. Recent developments including Manchester’s Circle Square, Copperas Hill in Liverpool and Barnsley town centre are all connected, equipped and events-ready thanks to the installation of Pop Up Power Supplies® power units.
The pop up and in-ground power units are designed to be ‘hidden in plain sight’ as they are submerged in the ground and the presence is only noticed when they are in-use. The retractable, pop up units are raised and lowered using a turning handle and in-ground units are accessed via a flip lid – this type of unit also allows for permanent unattended use as it can be used with the lid locked down.
The power bollard is a different approach to providing power distribution in that is always visible and designed to be a feature of a site. It takes the form of a high quality bollard which features a power supply accessed via a locked cover, with five styles available and finishes in any RAL colour to suit the requirements of any site.
To find out more visit www.popuppower.co.uk
Tel: 020 8227 0208