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Futureproof city centres

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.

Publications under this theme

Hagen, D., Risselada, A., Spierings, B., Weltevreden, J. W. J., & Atzema, O. (2022)

Digital marketing activities by Dutch place management partnerships: A resource-based view


Su, X., Spierings, B., & Hooimeijer, P. (2022)

Different urban settings affect multi-dimensional tourist-resident interactions

Tourism Geographies

Su, X., Hooimeijer, P., & Spierings, B. (2021)

Why urban setting matters in shaping tourist attitudes towards interaction with residents: Causation or selection in three urban settings.

Journal of Destination Marketing & Management

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Ongoing projects under this theme

Futureproof equilibrium (PHD)

The past decade seems to have presented new challenges to shopping streets in Amsterdam. Urban consumption spaces have long feared dwindling patronage due to increased competition with regional shopping malls…

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The impact of collective digital marketing on shopping areas (PHD)

Many urban shopping areas are struggling with declining visitor numbers and decreasing retail sales because consumers are increasingly shopping online. However, this digital era also offers local shopping area stakeholders…

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Culture, Retail and Urban Quality

Exploration by Rotterdam University and University of AmsterdamThe future of inner cities in the Netherlands is in the spotlight. The Ministry of Economic Affairs recently announced an investment of €100…

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Our researchers

Bas Spierings

Associate Professor in Urban Consumption, Retailing and Public Space

Wouter Pol


Pauline van den Berg

Assistant Professor Urban Systems and Real Estate

Cees-Jan Pen

Professor Entrpreneurial Regions

Alexander Grit

Lector Ondernemen in Verandering

Marie-Ange de Kort

Docent Leisure & Events Management

Paul Rutten

Research professor Creative Business

Evi Knuts

Head of Research

Ko Koens

Professor New Urban Tourism

Roos Gerritsma

Associate Professor

Iris Kerst

Program Manager

Wina Smeenk

Professor Societal Impact Design

Institutions connected to this theme

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Curious about what we can do for you? Please contact us and let us know what you run into


Cees-Jan Pen

Chairman research community

Professor de Ondernemende regio
Fontys University

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