The REPAIR project has been researching the diversity and adaptation of the principal retail areas within five major UK cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool and Nottingham. This represents a mix of larger and smaller cities. These northern cities have been selected to enable a meaningful comparison and contrast of distinctive urban retailing markets that have experienced a variety of relative performance, some undergoing significant retail development during the study period which is from 2000 to 2017.
The REPAIR study aims to look beyond single streets but investigate the evolution of the core retailing area within these cities. The primary shopping area (PSA) within an urban centre in England is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 2019) as the ‘defined area where retail development is concentrated’ although some planning authorities, refer to the city centre PSA as the main retail area. In Scotland the retail core in a city or town centre is referred to as the principal retail area (PRA) and is identified by the controlling Local Authority as the preferred location where retail development is encouraged (Scottish Government, 2014a). These policy-defined in-town shopping areas, which capture the traditional unplanned linear ribbons and adjacent shopping malls within the central retail and commercial districts within cities and towns, are used to define the retailing centres under study.
The maps below illustrate the study retail area under study within each city highlighted as shaded areas. As the boundaries of the PRAs and PSAs changed during the study period, the maximum area covered by the combined urban centre core retailing policy definitions was adopted. The dotted red line in each map represents the buffer area included in the data collection to avoid boundary effects in some forms of statistical analyses performed on the databases created.