Charlotte Street Partners



How after has worked out before

Written by Kevin Pringle, partner
29 January 2020

‘After’ is what we’re all after just now. We desperately want, and need, to get past this pandemic, and live in the world as it is – whatever that is – rather than our current lives of limbo.
We all know that after won’t be exactly the same as before. We will get a metaphorical shot in the arm when we get our actual shot in the arm, but unlike in the movies that won’t be the end of the story. Aspects of our society, economy, public health systems, even human behaviour and attitudes, will have changed. As individuals, we may emerge as slightly different people, for better and worse.
This week’s Read on the Street – in keeping with Charlotte Street Partners’ theme of After – focuses on instances of recovery, rebuilding and survival, in a variety of contexts and times. Casting our thoughts on what the aftermath might look like may help us get through the present.
Enjoy your weekend.

  1. Lessons from pandemics past

This isn’t the first pandemic the human race has been through, and sadly it won’t be the last. Discover how previous outbreaks changed the world – with consequences still felt today – and any lessons we may draw from them.
Read in World Economic Forum.

2. How to rebuild a nation

For many in the US, the economic collapse of the 1930s remains the benchmark against which recessions are measured. A decade later, however, the nation had successfully exited depression and entered into an unparalleled period of national prosperity—with measurably greater income equality. This article details lessons learned from the New Deal, as launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Read in The Atlantic.

3. Call me a dreamer

The devastated Beirut district of Rmeil has begun the uphill battle of rebuilding. Small business owners are returning to their shattered shops, hoping that the roots of their livelihoods are still intact. This beautiful photo essay shares the stories of a neighbourhood grappling with questions about their recovery. Does the old structure work? How can they make this place flourish again? And how can they acknowledge the tragedy that happened in the way they work now?
Read in The New York Times.

4. The resurrection of high street

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many UK businesses deep into financial crisis. Indeed, the pandemic has been especially punishing on the high street, with retailers including Debenhams and Arcadia facing imminent closure. Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of Power to Change, argues that this is the time for government to empower local and independent retailers, as an opportunity to reinvent high streets as civic spaces.
Read in FT.

5. The path to net-zero

In recent times, it has become commonplace for big corporations to publicly pledge their commitment to achieving the lofty goal of net-zero emissions. And yet, in order to reach true net-zero, they will need the help of innovative entrepreneurs, investors and clean tech that has not been invented yet. The fight against climate change cannot happen in silos – it is only through global co-operation that we will we see our way to a net-zero future.
Read in Wired.

6. Right trees, right places

Building back the world’s forests – to help tackle our climate and biodiversity crises – depends on planting the right trees in the right places, and getting it wrong can do more harm than good.
Read in Kew.

And finally… 

How a pre-Incan civilisation learned to thrive in the desert thanks to seabird poo! But some were more equal than others.

Read in The Conversation.

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