City Centre Case Studies

Find out how cities are regenerating their city centres to support thriving businesses using this case study library

Case study library

Why regenerate city centres?

City centres play a fundamental role in the economies of UK cities. Businesses gain from the proximity, or agglomeration, that city centres offer through sharing infrastructure, the ability to recruit from a large labour pool and the ability to share ideas and information, known as ‘knowledge spillovers’.

Cities can boost the attractiveness of their city centre in many ways, such as relocating employment to the centre, attracting firms through incentives, and providing good transport and infrastructure.

Use the table below to find out more about how and what cities in the UK and abroad have done to regenerate their city centres. These case studies highlight what the cities did and their self-reported outcomes.

To find out more about what types of policy interventions have an impact on local economic growth from across OECD countries, as well as evidence-based policy design guides, take a look at the What Works Centre pages on Area-Based Initiatives, Public Realm and Transport.

Case studies

click the case study title to find out more

Case studyPolicy aimLocationCountryLead organisation(s)
1. Relocating public services (I)Boost retail and investment in the city centreBradford UKBradford Metropolitan District Council
2. Relocating public services (II)Boost retail and investment in the city centreCoventryUKCoventry City Council
3. Relocating universities and colleges Boost retail and investment in the city centreNewportUKUniversity of Wales
4. Relocating further and higher educationBoost retail and investment in the city centreGlasgowUKCity of Glasgow College
5. Opening business incubators in the city centre Boost retail and investment in the city centreLeedsUKLeeds Beckett University
6. Improving the amount and quality of office, retail and hotel space Create an attractive and functional city centreManchesterUKManchester Millennium Ltd
7. Improving the city centre connectivity and accessibility Create an attractive and functional city centreBirminghamUKBirmingham City Council
8. Promoting residential development to reverse the hollowing out of a city centreCreate an attractive and functional city centre CroydonUKGreater London Authority, London Borough of Croydon
9. Increasing commercial space and promoting research and innovationCreate an attractive and functional city centre NewcastleUKNewcastle Science Central Partnership
10. Increasing accessibility to businesses and shops in the city centre Provide good links between the city centre and the wider area ManchesterUKCityCo Manchester
11. Introducing a tram system in a city with fast population growth Provide good links between the city centre and the wider areaMontpellierFranceMontpellier Agglomeration
12. Introducing a new bus system in a mid-sized city Provide good links between the city centre and the wider areaEugeneOregon, USLane Transit District, Eugene Council
13. Introducing reliable and fast broadband connections across the cityProvide information on public servicesLuxemburgLuxemburgLuxemburg City Government
14. Offering tax incentives that make the city centre economically viableDraw investments into the city centreDallasTexas, USDallas City Government
15. Raising the tax rate to fund a physical improvement strategy Draw investments into the city centreOklahoma CityOklahoma, USOklahoma City Government
16. Incentivising owners to volunteer vacant properties for temporary usage Use vacant space and stimulate activity in the city centreChristchurchNew ZealandChristchurch City Council
17. Temporarily renting vacant properties below market ratesUse vacant space and stimulate activity in the city centreMasan, ChangwonSouth KoreaChangwon City
18. Investing in assets to support a weak private sector marketDeliver physical development and regenerationSwanseaUKSwansea City Council
19. Supporting the creation of a high-density central business districtDelivering physical development and regenerationStoke-on-TrentUKStoke-on-Trent City Council
20. Packaging sites to deliver viable developmentDeliver physical development and regenerationSunderlandUKSunderland City Council
21. Creating an office hub in the city centreDelivering office spaceBradfordUKBusiness & Enterprise Finance
22. Offering flexible occupier criteriaDelivering office spaceHuddersfieldUKKirklees Council
23. Using the university's estateDelivering office spaceLiverpoolUKUniversity of Liverpool

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