Exploring our own areas and supporting local businesses could make us a lot happier and healthier

The campaign encourages people to rediscover their local high streets and town centres.

An email from The Fitzrovia Partnership’s chief operating officer this week invites the business group’s members to read about a campaign to get the London economy up and running again.

The Because I’m A Londoner is a city-wide initiative which claims to bring businesses together to create a community that will help drive a rapid recovery in London’s economy. “I recommend you check it out,” says Lee Lyons.

It’s an interesting suggestion to make to the local business community which relies heavily on the consumption habits of the 50,000 people who would normally travel into Fitzrovia each day to work. The majority sit at a desk in front of a computer most of the time, and many of them, if they still have a job, are now happily doing the same at home following government advice.

Because I’m a Londoner invites people to explore their own areas and support local businesses, “boosting consumer confidence” and “stimulating spending”, to help the city “reshape and recover”. It is encouraging “responsible behaviour, in full alignment with Government and public health advice”, says the London Alliance.

Its message is to stay in the area where you live, shop local and use local services instead of travelling very far.

The 8,000 people living in Fitzrovia will happily support it provided they can wean themselves off Internet shopping and getting takeaway meals delivered to their door by a poorly paid courier.

Staying local by walking and cycling will not only keep the coronavirus at bay, but it will help combat climate change, reduce air pollution, and make a lot of working-age people who are lucky enough to still have jobs a lot happier and healthier.

High streets across London will benefit, and maybe town centres and village stores across the country could see a resurgence. But what it won’t do is reboot the Fitzrovia economy which just like the rest of the West End relies too much on thousands of people travelling each day.

Neighbourhood’s need to change to reflect the fact that many people will continue to work from home indefinitely. But ultimately we should also consume far, far less if we really want to save the planet and rebuild a better relationship with the natural world.