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Title: UK high streets during global economic crisis
Author: Dolega, Leszek
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The 2008-09 global economic crisis has impacted UK high streets and town centres in complex and little understood ways. In addition, the vitality of UK high streets has been differentially impacted by three other forces and has become an increasing focus of government and public anxiety: These forces include: (i) the progressive rise of online shopping, (ii) the complex consequences of the implementation of a ‘town centre first’ policy in retail development and (iii) the rise of often underestimated influence of convenience culture. This research investigates the response of UK high streets to these drivers of change, and seeks to make three main contributions. First, to provide new descriptive evidence on the differential performance of UK retail centres during and since the economic crisis. Although some of these findings parallel those suggested by specialist commercial research companies they also significantly extend available knowledge. In particular, they depict the discrepancy in the response of independent and multiple retailers to the economic and competitive shocks. Second, to identify the key drivers of town centre performance, by employing the multivariate analysis of that issue at both cross-regional and intra-urban levels. The cross-regional analysis derives seven factors associated with retail centre enhanced resilience or fragility to the economic crisis; the intra-urban analysis validates and reinforces the results of the cross-regional analysis and provides further insights into the dynamics of UK town centres performance in the post-crisis decade. Third, to conceptualise the nature of UK retail centres’ complex adjustment to the shock of economic crisis and other forces of change, by exploring alternative interpretations of the resilience of economic systems. In particular, we use the concept of adaptive resilience to understand the dynamic process through which UK high streets have gradually and constantly evolved. We suggest a conceptual framework which links the notions of adaptive capacity and adaptive resilience and indicates how a position of a centre in adaptive cycle and the role of various actors are important to performance of that centre. At a time when the economic health of high streets has generated a large amount of research, the findings of this study have the potential to contribute to the policy agenda and set a benchmark against which future research can be positioned and interpreted.
Supervisor: Wrigley, Neil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General)