The focus is on the functionality of city centres, with an emphasis on the transformation and greening of shopping areas. Collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant stakeholders and the role of property owners are particularly important in this regard. As a part of the broader debate on prosperity, further research will be conducted into the broader value of city centres and the potential to move beyond a system based on purchasing and visitor flows. The broader value and urgency of city centre greening and climate adaptation is an important focal point in this regard. As the national retail agenda consistently emphasises, the retail market is facing major challenges in terms of sustainability, transformation and the need for downsizing.
Key research questions include: how can we harness public-private and private-public partnerships to ensure that our inner cities and shopping areas remain dynamic, vibrant and liveable in the years ahead? How can we create more compact shopping areas, concentrate shops and determine which shops should be closed or relocated? What roles can the various stakeholders play?
In addition to shopping areas in city centres, the research will explicitly focus on shopping areas in suburbs and the outskirts of towns and villages.