As England starts the process of getting back into some sort of normality, with retail, hospitality and some aspects of the arts sector re-opening their doors, it will look and feel very different to those of February 2020. For the foreseeable future, just as we’ve had to adapt our way of living and working, our cities too will need to adapt.
But that’s not to say our cities won’t be the thriving community hubs that they were before lockdown. Cities have the potential to spark vibrancy, collaboration and joy. And to do that, they need the people of the city.
As a business, our purpose is to create thriving cities. We are inherently embedded into our communities and our purpose aligns us with ensuring their ongoing success and sustainability. The past few months have reinforced how each and every aspect of our cities are intrinsically linked. From the people to the businesses, the shops to the economy, the transportation to the culture.
It is imperative that measures are in place to keep our cities as easy and safe to navigate as possible. Through the strong partnerships and relationships Bruntwood holds within our cities, we are ensuring that we are doing everything we can to support this for our communities and we are committed to creating safe environments for all.
Many of the shops, cafes and restaurants that we love, rely on our support. Now that the all-important amenities within our cities are opening their doors once more, we also need to come back to make it worth their while. And, more importantly, for them to survive.
So as businesses get their spaces ready to welcome friends once more, we must be there for them. As a community, and a country, we went into lockdown together. We protected one another and kept each other safe, now we need to continue supporting one another as the lockdown eases.
This change won’t happen overnight, of course. Many of us are still feeling anxious about returning to some semblance of normality. But, slowly, we will get back into the habit of some of our more usual routines.
And as we slowly return, we will want to go back to the places which brought us joy. While it is still unclear when our arts and cultural venues will be able to reopen, we need to be there to support them when they do.
Arts and culture is a major part of the makeup of our cities. It is encouraging to see the government announce their £1.57bn funding pledge to support this vital sector in our economy.
This much-needed, ambitious rescue package will go a long way to protect the future of our country’s museums, galleries, theatres and music venues. But only if we are there to enjoy them.
And we should be there to enjoy them. After all, they will play a vital role in the recovery from the pandemic, not only contributing financially to the economy, but by bringing us hope and creativity to improve our wellbeing.
Our cities face an uncertain future, but creativity is still out there. The arts will be central to reinvigorating the life of our communities.
While being at home more has brought many benefits, such as spending more time with family, flexibility and a better work/life balance, there is much to be said about the perspective and balance that being within our wider communities brings.
It’s about culture. It’s about the buzz of creative energy. It’s about our social connections, both personal and professional. And it’s about our own mental wellbeing. As human beings, we get energy from being around others, and being in environments where we can collaborate, be creative, support one another and build relationships.
All of this is so vitally important, right now, as we collectively get together to return to life as we knew it and begin our journey on the road to recovery.
So, as we start to come back safely to the cities and communities we know and love, we look forward to seeing them thrive once more. Our favourite bars and restaurants will bring back the dishes and drinks we’ve been craving. The shops we missed browsing will welcome us back. We’ll be inspired by arts and culture. Businesses and education systems alike will collaborate and innovate to help build a brighter future. But most importantly, we as individuals will be there to support that. After all, we cannot create thriving cities without people. People like you.