The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


NRFP Case Award

NRFP Case Award: The Dynamics of Town Centre Retailing 1971-2003

28 November 2016

CASA’s Town Centre Boundaries work for ODPM has produced statistics which shed light on the current vitality and viability of English and Welsh towns. Prior to this, the last comparable retail survey is the 1971 Census of Distribution, which exists only in paper form.

In the period between the two surveys the retailing sector has undergone enormous change, especially in terms of outlet locations, but supporting evidence is sparse: studies are often local in coverage or qualitative in nature.

This research aims to bring together these disparate datasets to construct a spatio-temporal model of the changing patterns of retail in the intervening years, using the 1971 Census and the Town Centres data as start and endpoints. This will be used to analyse the changes in detail and to test current ideas of what has changed and why.

The National Retail Planning Forum, the CASE award partner, is a charitable organisation which aims to improve understanding between private and public sectors of planning and its impact on retailing through dialogue and research.

This project will help in its mission to develop new retail statistics and a better understanding of the country’s retail hierarchy.


Miles Davis