Towards Successful Suburban Town Centres
A study of the relationship between morphology, sociability, economics and accessibility

Please note that this project has finished. The current project is Adaptable Suburbs.


Initally we will study ten suburban areas in the Greater London area between the north and south circular road and the M25 in order to fix on a range of suburban types. The next stage will be to select four of these suburban centres for detailed case studies. The selection of settlements will be based on computerised geographical analysis of existing governmental datasets, literature review and mapping studies. The four cases will cover a range of suburban centres considered to be 'successful' but which have different strengths and weaknesses.

Each of the four cases will be analysed in detail: we will use historical maps, recently released for academic research, in a GIS environment to analyse the evolution of suburban form over the last 100 years. This will be followed-up by an in-depth analysis of change over the last decade, based on census data, recent maps and a range of governmental datasets including economic activity.

We will assess the success of the centres through measures of economic performance, physical accessibility, walkablity and diversity of activities.

We will run local workshops to contribute to this assessment and to get information on future priorities from the perspective of local stakeholders. Finally, the data will be integrated and we will deliver a comprehensive dataset and set of guidelines for the systematic analysis and future planning of suburban town centres.

We will develop new techniques for the analysis of the suburban town centre and its surroundings using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Spatial Analysis and Space Syntax Methodology (SSM). In GIS we will develop a method that enables the adjustment of historical maps to the latest detailed digital data by the Ordnance Survey. We will use GIS to integrate the suburbs data and to conduct spatial analysis on the relationship between socio-economic development. Space Syntax and GIS techniques will both be used to analyse the way in which suburban space is being utilised by people and to integrate the social and economic data with information about urban form.


Project contacts: email: - telephone: +44 (0)20 3108 9042 - general enquiries: contact us

EPSRC reference: EP/D06595X/1