The second stage of the national roll-out of a new retail census based on new data sets at the unit postcode level (circa 50 metres resolution) has involved a test of the method developed for ODPM in Greater London. The method consists of developing a series of critical indicators of town centredness based on weighing a set of basic indicators involving different types of town centre activity. The surface which is produced from this method is then used in the definition of town centre boundaries. In London, we have worked with over 300,000 post codes in developing this index and using advice from various experts who know London's town centres, we have defined some 157 town centres and some additional 20 retail cores. Data for these centres and cores forms the basis of the census which is available in pilot form for London on the ODPM website.
In this project, we have developed many new tools to visualise data. We have an online data verification tool which enables those who know the local geography to view, change, and manipulate the data to bring it to a better form. Daryll Lloyd is working with uncertainty and error in the data sets, while Mike Batty, Mark Thurstain-Goodwin and Sanjay Rana have developed online tools for constructing indicators of town centre sustainability using internet GIS. These projects have been conducted with our partners URBED who are also researching the quality of life in town centres and villages.
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