Vital and Viable Neighbourhoods

Make sure that neighbourhood and district centres across your town or city are flourishing.

Whilst town and city centres face considerable challenges, we have, perhaps, overlooked our smaller centres. However, neighbourhood and district centres play an important role in ensuring many people have access to everyday shops and services. 

Based on a successful project with Manchester City Council, the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University has now launched a 'Vital and Viable Neighbourhoods' programme to improve the health of all district centres across a town or city. 

Footfall data is provided by Springboard and activity and performance across a whole connurbation can be analysed. The aim is to ensure centres complement each other, rather than compete in an unsustainable fashion.

As part of the programme, the Institute works closely with stakeholders in a number of pilot centers, through a structured programme which brings together residents, councillors, local traders, neighbourhood officers and other key individuals. This ensures the interventions that have most impact on vitality and viability are prioritised and can be implemented locally. 

Finally, new state-of-the-art dashboard products are shared to improve place decision making, both at Town Hall and in local place management partnerships. The dashboards are driven by research and algorithms based on over 10 years of detailed analysis of UK footfall. The dashboards ensure that there is a data-driven identification of the function and performance of each centre, and that the centres can also be understood as a network. This enables ‘whole place’ policy and programmes to be developed that are sensitive to local variations whilst optimising the vitality and viability of the city as a whole.

The Vitality and Viable Neighbourhoods Programme is delivered by Institute of Place Management staff who were each directly involved in our district, town and city centre research programmes and who are experienced in working with district centre stakeholders.

Dr Steve Millington is the Director of Place Making at the Institute and Reader in Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. He was lead investigator on the High Street 2030: Achieving Change project, and was co-investigator on Vital and Viable Neighbourhood Centres: Manchester, High Street UK 2020 and the Bringing Big Data to Small Users research programmes. Steve has worked extensively with individual district, town and city centres.

Professor Cathy Parker is Co-Chair of the Institute and Professor of Retail and Marketing Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University. She was the lead investigator for Vital and Viable Neighbourhoods Manchester, High Street UK 2020 and Bringing Big Data to Small Users project. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Place Management and Development, and a recognised authority on retail in town and city centres.

Going forward

The Vital and Viable Neighbourhoods Programme is available exclusively to members of the Institute of Place Management or The BID Foundation. The cost of the programme is dependent on the number of neighbourhoods/districts that take part, and costs £4k to £8k + VAT per district/neighbourhood. Please note costs are not inclusive of travel and subsistence

Want to know more? Email us to arrange a discussion.