Figures released earlier this month show that Christmas shopping did not bring the gift of high street renewal to towns and cities around the UK. According to the Springboard Index[i], the benchmark for UK footfall, fewer people visited the high street, compared to the same period last year.
This month our new Innovate project started. The project will bring big data to town and city centre decision makers, enabling them to optimise footfall whilst also improving the experience of centre users. The first stage of the project (running from now until Spring 2017) is very research focused. Because we have over 9 years of hourly footfall data, courtesy of the project lead Springboard, the research team at the Institute of Place Management (Manchester Metropolitan University) and the University of Cardiff can really start to work out how and why town and city centres perform as they do. Our findings will then be incorporated into a place management information system and a serious of dashboard products, built by our technology partners MyKnowledgeMap.
Our ‘Bringing Big Data to Small Users‘ project is funded by Innovate UK, the UK Goverment’s innovation agency,to improve the customer experience of town centres and traditional retail areas, such as high streets and markets. The project will do this by bringing new research and insight directly to key stakeholders in locations – such as retailers and other businesses, property owners, local councils and place managers. The project is led by retail data specialists Springboard, who are the sector leaders in collecting footfall data in retail and other locations.
At the request of the National Association of British Market Authorities and, as part of the High Street UK2020 project, we have conducted a comprehensive review of the published evidence demonstrating, unequivocally, that markets contribute to the economic, social and political health of towns and cities. We have also conducted analyses of large footfall datasets, provided by Springboard, to show that markets add to the vitality of specific centres. Finally, we show how markets act as important catalysts for change in town and city centres. These are the 25 most important reasons why markets matter, identified in this report.