Topics & Themes

District Centre Management as a young profession

District Centre Management, in the way it is understood in this project, is a relatively new discipline on the border of urban development, economic development and city marketing. It is based on the fact that many local communities in NWE are characterised by a polycentric structure: Besides the inner city there are several districts at the outskirts with evolved centres. These district centres provide the local population with retail and services and are very important for local employment. While retail in the inner city has often been able to become stable with the help of city marketing, many district centres are nowadays economically and structurally weakened. Due to changes in shopping habits and consumer behaviour (growing mobility and development of large-scale retail facilities in the open countryside) local spending power drifts to the inner city and the surrounding countryside.

In the district centres, bigger companies can survive but the existence of SME is more and more put at jeopardy. Increasing shop vacancies are the first symptoms showing the urgent need for action. Within the
transnational project MANDIE, the partners aim at bringing this declining process to a stop and instead enhancing the attractiveness and economic performance of district centres in towns and cities in Northwest Europe. Through transnational exchange of experience and best practice, innovative solutions for similar problems shall be developed, implemented and evaluated jointly. The results shall be disseminated to other towns and cities via transnational vocational training, a lecture toolkit for study courses and a “Guide on Innovative Business Practices in District Centres”.

The main objectives are to understand district centres; to define and promote a District Centre Management approach in NWE; to develop transferable methods to enhance the attractiveness and economic performance of pilot districts; knowledge transfer between different stakeholders (science, economy, administrations).

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