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.
click the case study title to find out more
|Case study||Policy aim||Location||Country||Lead organisation(s)|
|1. Relocating public services (I)||Boost retail and investment in the city centre||Bradford||UK||Bradford Metropolitan District Council|
|2. Relocating public services (II)||Boost retail and investment in the city centre||Coventry||UK||Coventry City Council|
|3. Relocating universities and colleges||Boost retail and investment in the city centre||Newport||UK||University of Wales|
|4. Relocating further and higher education||Boost retail and investment in the city centre||Glasgow||UK||City of Glasgow College|
|5. Opening business incubators in the city centre||Boost retail and investment in the city centre||Leeds||UK||Leeds Beckett University|
|6. Improving the amount and quality of office, retail and hotel space||Create an attractive and functional city centre||Manchester||UK||Manchester Millennium Ltd|
|7. Improving the city centre connectivity and accessibility||Create an attractive and functional city centre||Birmingham||UK||Birmingham City Council|
|8. Promoting residential development to reverse the hollowing out of a city centre||Create an attractive and functional city centre||Croydon||UK||Greater London Authority, London Borough of Croydon|
|9. Increasing commercial space and promoting research and innovation||Create an attractive and functional city centre||Newcastle||UK||Newcastle 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||Manchester||UK||CityCo Manchester|
|11. Introducing a tram system in a city with fast population growth||Provide good links between the city centre and the wider area||Montpellier||France||Montpellier Agglomeration|
|12. Introducing a new bus system in a mid-sized city||Provide good links between the city centre and the wider area||Eugene||Oregon, US||Lane Transit District, Eugene Council|
|13. Introducing reliable and fast broadband connections across the city||Provide information on public services||Luxemburg||Luxemburg||Luxemburg City Government|
|14. Offering tax incentives that make the city centre economically viable||Draw investments into the city centre||Dallas||Texas, US||Dallas City Government|
|15. Raising the tax rate to fund a physical improvement strategy||Draw investments into the city centre||Oklahoma City||Oklahoma, US||Oklahoma City Government|
|16. Incentivising owners to volunteer vacant properties for temporary usage||Use vacant space and stimulate activity in the city centre||Christchurch||New Zealand||Christchurch City Council|
|17. Temporarily renting vacant properties below market rates||Use vacant space and stimulate activity in the city centre||Masan, Changwon||South Korea||Changwon City|
|18. Investing in assets to support a weak private sector market||Deliver physical development and regeneration||Swansea||UK||Swansea City Council|
|19. Supporting the creation of a high-density central business district||Delivering physical development and regeneration||Stoke-on-Trent||UK||Stoke-on-Trent City Council|
|20. Packaging sites to deliver viable development||Deliver physical development and regeneration||Sunderland||UK||Sunderland City Council|
|21. Creating an office hub in the city centre||Delivering office space||Bradford||UK||Business & Enterprise Finance|
|22. Offering flexible occupier criteria||Delivering office space||Huddersfield||UK||Kirklees Council|
|23. Using the university's estate||Delivering office space||Liverpool||UK||University of Liverpool|