IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Using micro-geography data to identify town-centre space in Great Britain


  • Cheshire, Paul
  • Hilber, Christian A. L.
  • Montebruno, Piero
  • Sanchis-Guarner, Rosa


We often talk about ‘Town Centres’, but defining their location and extent is surprisingly difficult. Their boundaries are hard to pin down and intrinsically fuzzy. Nevertheless, the British government introduced very specific policies for them in 1996 – Town Centre First Policies (TCFP) – without defining them. The semi-official definitions introduced in 2004 did not cover Scotland, only England and Wales. Using a range of variables available for the whole of Great Britain that capture all the dimensions of ‘town centredness’, we start by replicating the definitions for England and Wales. Then, we use an alternative list of towns and cities and apply our estimated coefficients to predict their size. Our models yield high correlations between the semi-official DCLG values and our predicted values, so we then move on to identify Town Centres for all three countries of GB. Our method is a contribution in its own right but is also an essential step if there is to be a rigorous evaluation of TCFP since it makes it possible to compare changes in the ‘policy treated’ Town Centres of England and Wales with changes in the ‘policy untreated’ ones of Scotland.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheshire, Paul & Hilber, Christian A. L. & Montebruno, Piero & Sanchis-Guarner, Rosa, 2017. "Using micro-geography data to identify town-centre space in Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83636, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:83636

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dolega, Les & Pavlis, Michalis & Singleton, Alex, 2016. "Estimating attractiveness, hierarchy and catchment area extents for a national set of retail centre agglomerations," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 78-90.
    2. Paul C. Cheshire & Christian A. L. Hilber & Ioannis Kaplanis, 2015. "Land use regulation and productivity—land matters: evidence from a UK supermarket chain," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 43-73.
    3. Paul C. Cheshire & Christian A. L. Hilber & Ioannis Kaplanis, 2012. "Evidence from a UK supermarket chain," Working Papers 2012/15, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. David L. Huff, 1963. "A Probabilistic Analysis of Shopping Center Trade Areas," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1), pages 81-90.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cuberes, David & Roberts, Jennifer & Sechel, Cristina, 2019. "Household location in English cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 120-135.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Paul Cheshire & Christian Hilber & Piero Montebruno & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner, 2018. "Take Me to the Centre of Your Town! Using Micro-geographical Data to Identify Town Centres," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 64(2), pages 255-291.
    2. Sergey Kichko, 0. "Competition, land prices and city size," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 1313-1329.
    3. Lin, Ting (Grace) & Xia, Jianhong (Cecilia) & Robinson, Todd P. & Olaru, Doina & Smith, Brett & Taplin, John & Cao, Buyang, 2016. "Enhanced Huff model for estimating Park and Ride (PnR) catchment areas in Perth, WA," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 336-348.
    4. Sanchez-Vidal, Maria, 2019. "Retail shocks and city structure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103394, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Paolo Veneri, 2018. "Urban spatial structure in OECD cities: Is urban population decentralising or clustering?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 1355-1374, November.
    6. Wieland, Thomas, 2015. "Nahversorgung im Kontext raumökonomischer Entwicklungen im Lebensmitteleinzelhandel: Konzeption und Durchführung einer GIS-gestützten Analyse der Strukturen des Lebensmitteleinzelhandels und der Nahve," MPRA Paper 77145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. James Kaufman & Justin Lessler & April Harry & Stefan Edlund & Kun Hu & Judith Douglas & Christian Thoens & Bernd Appel & Annemarie Käsbohrer & Matthias Filter, 2014. "A Likelihood-Based Approach to Identifying Contaminated Food Products Using Sales Data: Performance and Challenges," PLOS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(7), pages 1-10, July.
    8. USHCHEV, Philip & SLOEV, Igor & THISSE, Jacques-François & ,, 2013. "Do we go shopping downtown or in the ‘burbs’? Why not both?," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2013057, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    9. Kristian Behrens & Sergey Kichko & Jacques-Francois Thisse, 2021. "Working from Home: Too Much of a Good Thing?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8831, CESifo.
    10. Busu Mihail & Vargas Madalina Vanesa & Gherasim Ioan Alexandru, 2020. "An analysis of the economic performances of the retail companies in Romania," Management & Marketing, Sciendo, vol. 15(1), pages 125-133, March.
    11. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nancy Holman, 2018. "Distinctively Different: A New Approach to Valuing Architectural Amenities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(608), pages 1-33, February.
    12. ., 2014. "Planning and economic performance," Chapters, in: Urban Economics and Urban Policy, chapter 5, pages 104-126, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Yang, Xiping & Fang, Zhixiang & Xu, Yang & Yin, Ling & Li, Junyi & Lu, Shiwei, 2019. "Spatial heterogeneity in spatial interaction of human movements—Insights from large-scale mobile positioning data," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 29-40.
    14. Cho, Clare & Volpe, Richard, 2017. "Independent Grocery Stores in the Changing Landscape of the U.S. Food Retail Industry," Economic Research Report 265463, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    15. Vladimir Marianov & H. A. Eiselt, 2016. "On agglomeration in competitive location models," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 246(1), pages 31-55, November.
    16. Maria Sanchez Vidal, 2016. "Small shops for sale! The effects of big-box openings on grocery stores," Working Papers 2016/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    17. H. A. Eiselt & Vladimir Marianov, 0. "Stability of utility functions and apportionment rules in location models," TOP: An Official Journal of the Spanish Society of Statistics and Operations Research, Springer;Sociedad de Estadística e Investigación Operativa, vol. 0, pages 1-21.
    18. Ceren Erdin & Halil Emre Akbaş, 2019. "A Comparative Analysis of Fuzzy TOPSIS and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the Location Selection of Shopping Malls: A Case Study from Turkey," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-22, July.
    19. Hilber , Christian A. L. & Schöni, Olivier, 2016. "Housing Policies in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States: Lessons Learned," ADBI Working Papers 569, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    20. Cheshire, Paul & Hilber, Christian A.L. & Koster, Hans R.A., 2018. "Empty homes, longer commutes: The unintended consequences of more restrictive local planning," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 126-151.

    More about this item


    town centre; planning; retail sector; land use;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:83636. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.