Building Usage and Ownership. Adaptation and Resilience of City Centres, 2000-2017

Orr, Allison M and Stewart, Joanna (2022). Building Usage and Ownership. Adaptation and Resilience of City Centres, 2000-2017. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-855942

The retail sector is crucial to the economic health and vitality of towns and cities and is a core component of the national economy, but is experiencing an ongoing period of change and the challenges faced by centres are being met in different ways, with different outcomes. Consumers are behaving, shopping and using urban centres in new and diverse ways and many retailing centres have experienced falling footfall, retailer closures and a rise in empty retail units. In an attempt to reverse the cycle of decline, centres need to be multi-functional places and policy-makers are encouraging more mixed use development. Large-scale mixed-use re-development of obsolete stock, novel temporary land uses, events and public realm works are being used to try to make urban centres more attractive and increase their competitive edge. Yet, not everyone is experiencing the benefits of these changes. Mistrust, tension and conflict can arise from land use changes and become barriers to further renewal and change, limiting the effectiveness of these "town centre first" policies. A recent ESRC-funded study undertaken by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University blamed these tensions and lack of co-operation as significant contributors to the continued declined of retailing in many centres (Parker, 2015). This project investigates one of the largest stakeholder groups within the sector. The objectives and behaviour of land and property owners, developers and investors are significant to the use and form of retailing centres. The project explores how ownership and the behaviour of this stakeholder group impact on the sector, by exploring issues around changing ownership and use patterns; innovations in design form; the ability of the industry to respond to change; and the ways the group engages and interacts with other stakeholders in urban centres. Thus, it aims to examine how their expectations, perceptions, practices and co-operation help or limit experimentation with new uses, building types and designs. The mixed method study, using primary and secondary data, explores issues around: whether retailers and landlords in city centres are becoming more or less diverse; whether new design formats, flexible uses and large scale redevelopments can help struggling centres; the extent to which established practices and procedures in the real estate market encourage or even hinder new uses; and whether stakeholders can work together in better ways for the future health of town and city centres. These issues are examined using five case study cities over the period 1997-2017: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham.

Data description (abstract)

The Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR) project, conducted at the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield, investigated the changes experienced across the retail cores of five UK cities Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool and Nottingham between 2000 and 2021. The project examined different aspects of the property market and built environment across four separate work streams. The secondary data stored was compiled as part of Work Package A, and allowed for a comparison of property usage and ownership across five case study centres to reveal both similarities and differences over a period of almost two decades (2000-2017). The datasets were created from microlevel data that provide an almost complete picture of building usage and ownership in each case study centre but was constructing by linking data from different public and private sources in a manner not previously attempted. The license agreements prevent sharing of the micro-level data so the stored data is aggregated at different levels of aggregation.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Orr Allison M University of Glasgow
Stewart Joanna University of Glasgow
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/R005117/1
Topic classification: Housing and land use
Project title: Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR)
Alternative title: Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR)
Grant holders: Allison M Orr
Project dates:
1 August 201830 June 2022
Date published: 07 Sep 2022 18:08
Last modified: 07 Sep 2022 18:09

Available Files

Data and documentation bundle


Read me


data downloads and page views since this item was published

View more statistics


No resources to display

Edit item (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item