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Title: The impact of English retail-led town centre developments on user benefits of public realm
Author: Kreuziger, Geertje
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2013
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The study arises out of concern about the distribution of user benefits provided by recent large-scale, retail-led, mixed-use developments in English urban centres. Returning from out-of-town and fringe locations, developers and local authorities are challenged to deliver retail types, which respect and positively respond to the morphology, layout and built characteristics of existing town and city centres. The research is two-fold: by means of an in-depth evaluation of three case studies, it investigates the morphological built outcome of retail-led developments and in particular their integration with the wider public realm framework. Secondly, it evaluates the roles, interests and objectives of developers and local authorities in the distribution of user benefits of public realm through their involvement in the design, production and management of retail-led developments. Based on a qualitative research approach, the research is utilising a range of key methodologies, including primary case studies, participant observation and semi-structured in-depth interviews to meet the research aim and objectives. Morphological findings of the case studies reveal that the current dominant urban retail type has similar characteristics with the out-of-town retail type. Driven by consumerism as well as commercial and market-orientated values, recent retail-led developments have transformed English urban centres into inaccessible, socially exclusive and predictable commercial environments. Coupled with social and spatial control of public realm by private owners, recent retail-led developments have compromised the user benefits afforded by the public realm. However, findings of the case studies suggest that under certain conditions and circumstances the compromise of user benefits of retail-led developments can be diminished. The research proposes new theoretical propositions regarding the nature and definition of public realm in retail-led developments. It further establishes practical recommendations to move towards more coherent physical and social retail-led environments by identifying and implementing spatial structures and layouts that consider the opportunities provided by new developments beyond immediate site boundaries. Most importantly, the research urges local authorities to proactively engage with developers in the urban retail development process to regain ownership and control of the public realm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available