YORK people are being invited to take part in a series of workshops looking at how to breathe new life into Coney Street.

Known a century ago as 'York's Golden Half Mile' because of the string of fashionable shops which lined it, the street has recently fallen on harder times.

Part of the problem is the rise in online shopping, says York Civic Trust, which is helping organise the four workshops.

"Many spaces on the street now lie empty, forcing us to think creatively about what a high street needs to thrive in the twenty-first century," a Trust spokesperson said.

The four workshops - which will focus on daily life in the street; how to make better use of the River Ouse; how to create spaces to relax; and what to do with empty shops - aim to get people thinking about just that.

Staring next Thursday, they are part of the ongoing Street Life project organised by York University with the support of organisations like the Civic Trust, which has seen an empty shop at 29-31 Coney Street turned into a temporary gallery and cultural hub.

York Civic Trust chief executive Andrew Morrison said the idea of the workshops was to get people thinking about the future of the street.

Developers, architects, historians and others would all be attending, Mr Morrison said. "But they are open to everyone. We really want a mix of people. We're hoping some real inspiration will come out of this."

All the workshops are free, though places are limited. Each will include presentations and discussions at King's Manor, followed by a 'site visit' to Coney Street.

The four workshops are:

  • Thursday May 12, 2-4pm - 24 hours in the life of Coney Street

"Various activities have shared Coney Street for centuries," the Trust says. "Today it's 7am deliveries, daytime shoppers, and weekend nightlife. This workshop will ask: how should we manage the public realm of Coney Street, in light of its mixed usage?" Book a place at eventbrite.co.uk/e/330442110247

  • Thursday May 19, 2-4pm - Back to the River

"Coney Street has turned its back on the river, but this wasn't always the case," the Trust says. "Its connection with the River Ouse via numerous alleyways was once a key. This workshop considers the benefits of reinventing Coney Street's relationship to the river - via alleyways, riverside gardens, and the potential of a riverside walkway." Book at eventbrite.co.uk/e/330444206517

  • Thursday June 9, 2-4pm - A healthy heart to the city

"Did you know that Coney Street used to have green spaces?" the Trust asks. "Using original maps from the archives.. we'll explore ideas for reclaiming public spaces, such as by turning 'scrubland' at the back of buildings into secret gardens or lunchtime areas." Book at eventbrite.co.uk/e/330444878527

  • Thursday June 23, 2-4pm - After the shop

"Given the rise in online shopping, retail presents a challenge for Coney Street's buildings," the Trust says. "This workshop explores the adaption and reuse of spaces including empty units (and) upper floors." Book at eventbrite.co.uk/e/317660570317