Vital and viable town centres

Town centre initiatives often focus on either environmental or commercial concerns. However, the two are highly interdependent and need to be considered together in order to create successful town centres.

During an urban design study for Oxford city centre, we developed a method that quantifies the relationships between commercial value (viability) and the function and performance of the public realm (vitality). The method enables us to measure the success of town centres and the potential success of future changes in a single model.

The model uses a variety of indicators that quantify vitality and viability to produce a series of thematic maps. The maps predict how successful streets will be for both daytime and evening usage. This provides a useful tool in the preparation of town centre strategies as well as the development of site masterplans.


Oxford City Council / Research

Urban design, vitality and viability