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The spread of COVID-19 has dramatically changed how communities live, move and behave. From breaking old certainties, to the acceleration of new trends, there is now a pressing need for action as we start to rebuild the economy and tackle wider challenges.

To better understand the risks and opportunities the pandemic has presented, Arcadis has spoken to local authorities, transport and education providers, businesses and the general public in both the UK and Ireland to gather a clear picture of what they see as the priorities for a recovery plan in their local areas.

Thumbnail - Our shared recovery


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Our research covered over 1,700 organisations and individuals, and clearly showed that they want to see not just a green and inclusive recovery plan but one that is deliverable and affordable today. Most importantly it showed that public and local leaders are united in recognising that a post-COVID recovery is a unique opportunity for a radical re-think of how we view our communities and live our lives.


Our shared recovery report focuses on identifying the levers needed to strengthen our communities, with the aim of creating a recovery plan in which the benefits can be shared and enjoyed by all.

The levers that contribute to a shared recovery plan

In putting the need to build stronger, wealthier communities at the heart of recovery, we have identified clear opportunities that ensure the benefits extend well beyond simply bringing GDP back to pre-pandemic levels, but also embed sustainable, long-lasting change in our towns and cities, and for the people who live within them.


A shared recovery plan should:

  • Embrace the principles of ’15-minute communities‘
  • Create the right homes in the right places
  • Re-imagine town centres and high streets
  • Put inclusivity at the heart of the health and wellbeing agenda
  • Actively explore new forms of mobility

Embrace the principles of ’15-minute communities’

The rise in demand for places where people can live, work and spend their leisure time all within their local communities has led to a resurgence in the 15-minute community.

Can 15-minute communities work in the UK?

Discover the role of 15-minute communities in a shared recovery plan.

Create the right homes in the right places

The need for new homes has not disappeared, but the UK is building 15% fewer homes today than in 2003 and 50% fewer 25-year-olds own their own homes compared with 20 years ago.


Something needs to change.

Re-imagine town centres and high streets

No longer just ‘leftover space’, public realm is the glue that holds a place together and needs to be at the forefront of how we transform town centres.

How can we revive our high streets and create more adaptable public realm?

Put inclusivity at the heart of the health and wellbeing agenda

95% of survey respondents working in the public sector expect to see an increase in people accessing healthcare services online. But will this shift worsen the gap between the digital ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’?

Learn more about how a shared recovery plan accounts for the digital divide.

Actively explore new forms of mobility

COVID-19 has resulted in stark and sudden changes to the behaviour of people across the country. This has had a massive impact on public transport in particular. More & more people are turning to active travel options, such as walking and cycling.

Will this continue in the winter months ahead?

And how can a shared recovery plan accommodate active travel options?

Download the full report


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