We find it instructive to compare towns of a similar size in terms of economic, social or cultural sector indicators, so we maintain a Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) database of the towns on which we have worked or studied.

For towns that are ambitious to grow, comparisons with towns that are of the target size can generate ideas as to the best balance of town centre uses, appropriate densities and spatial configurations.

In Didcot, benchmarking provided a strong argument for the substantial growth of the retail and leisure provision in the town centre. In Barkingside, it helped us to challenge the view that Barkingside’s problems were caused by too many cafés and take-aways and steer attention towards other issues that needed to be addressed.

We now regularly use an intelligent selection of indicators as a tool for regeneration projects and continue to add new towns and KPIs to our database.