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The Importance of City Centre Regeneration

Beyond their traditionally accepted use as retail centres, city centres play a much more important role of bringing people together to exchange ideas and information, as well as goods and services.

Cities with strong centres need to ensure that the costs of businesses locating in these already attractive areas do not outweigh the benefits. In cities with relatively weaker centres, the focus should be on concentrating and generating business activity there, ensuring it is an attractive place to live and do business, and is well connected to surrounding areas and their labour markets.

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Relocating employment to the city centre

Local authority offices and services are often located in numerous buildings in and around the city. Relocating public services to the city centre has obvious benefits, it concentrates workers in the city centre, who will subsequently access local shops and services. This is particularly important for cities with weaker centres. By concentrating services in fewer buildings, relocating public services can also create efficient savings by reducing running and maintenance costs and avoids the duplication of services.

Bradford Metropolitan District Council, through the ‘b-works’ scheme, is in the process of relocating some services from locations across Bradford with the key aim of relocating staff to the city centre, helping to boost retail and encouraging new investment there.

Redevelopment

The new Titanic Quarter in Belfast is fast becoming one of the most exciting, attractive and economically powerful parts of Belfast. But when Titanic Quarter was launched a decade ago, few would have believed it had the potential to transform a neglected and desolate part of the city.

It’s now home to the £90m Titanic Belfast centre, visited by more than two million people from 145 countries, and the huge set of the world’s most successful television series, Game of Thrones, filmed in a former shipyard paint hall. The area has hundreds of residents who live in the trendy Arc apartments overlooking the marina, and is also home to the Northern Ireland Science Park, the Public Records Office and a Premier Inn hotel.

In a separate area of the city, Belfast Harbour has appointed Lagan Building Contractors, to build the second office block in its £250m, 20-acre City Quays regeneration project. The £18 million building project, due to be completed in early 2017 will also accommodate waterfront retail space on the ground floor, offering tenants the benefit of significantly reduced energy costs.

Transport and Infrastructure

Good transport is vital in all cities, and good links between the city centre and the wider area is vital for the economies of cities with both weak and strong city centres. Good transport links means ensuring people can access jobs by linking homes and businesses, and ensuring people can access and make use of city centre amenities. Montpellier has experienced some of the fastest population and economic growth of any French city in the past 25 years, demanding new infrastructure and housing to meet its growing needs. A tram system was introduced in 2000 to ensure reliable and sustainable connections into the city centre.

Conclusion

It is clear the regeneration and continuous development of city centres is important to continue to make them attractive propositions for companies looking to position their business in city centres. Employees help drive city centre economies with increased spending on transport and in local shops and restaurants.

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