The scale and density of cities means that they offer more choice - not just for work but also play.
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Footfall data suggests that while smaller cities did see busy high streets, activity was sluggish in larger cities.
The reopening of non-essential shops was expected to bring relief for the retail sector. On the whole, that is what happened but footfall data gives us a more nuanced picture of how it played out across the country.
While the Chancellor made a series of national announcements in the Summer Statement, they will play out differently across the country.
Wednesday's Summer Statement should set out the following five key policies if it is to support a recovery across the country.
Cities are taking the lead when it comes to reopening the high street, but they need national support to address outstanding challenges.
Although restrictions on opening are being lifted, high street businesses remain at risk while office workers remain at home.
Rolling back Covid support measures is complicated, but a framework for thinking about it suggests a clearer way forward.
Our new high streets recovery tracker shows that successful city centres have seen the largest falls in footfall. Valentine Quinio on why this is likely to be driven by significant reductions in the share of people coming from outside the city.
Join us to learn about our high streets recovery tracker