Animating town centres

Project categories: 
Business Engagement
Town centre

Designing & delivering activities to animate town centres

As long as we can remember!
Project Description: 

We are passionate about creating vital and viable town centres. With our array of diagnostic tools and the experience of working in nearly 50 centres, we know much about the ingredients which are part of a successful mix. Good urban design, managing the car, that special shop or café all contribute. But the key ingredient is people - people who are there for a purpose and who enjoy being there. 

Often we have been asked to design and deliver activities to animate centres. But we believe that to breathe life into places requires sustained programmes, not one-off events. We look to engender repeat visits, grow loyal customers and encourage those who use the centre for one purpose to extend their activities. 

We have successfully applied these approaches in very different settings. In Bankside - where we run one of the largest BIDs in the UK - we have a far reaching programme of promotional events developed in close liaison with hospitality operators. Allied to this are major events such as the Thames Festival and Frost Fair, which includes a Christmas market. 

In other places such as market towns we have sought ways in which, building on existing activities, limited budgets can be used to maximum effect. 

Our guiding principles are:

  • Liaise closely with centre traders - they have the best understanding of what 'clicks', and work hard to enlist the active support of other stakeholders 
  • Evaluate - check success, fine tune, adapt and change