For years, city centres have been at the heart of growing concern. Their decline over the past decades, due to a series of various, multiple and complex reasons, also lies in a lack of structural and coordinated management. Yet, if town and city centres have been ailing for years, they are nowadays regarded as being one of the key elements of sustainable development for the 21st century.

Today, they address several challenges, the main ones being: attracting new inhabitants whose needs in terms of living environment must be answered to, adapting the new economy and its trends, and developing a lasting form of economic activity.

As a meeting space, a social hub and a breeding ground for economic development, the town centre is a flag bearer, a testimony to the good health and dynamism of a territory. It is a quality indicator for foreign visitors and a landmark for the local population. Town Centres are complex spaces, restricted in size yet characterised by a wide diversity: it is a place for work, leisure, culture, history, education, living, health, shopping and public services. It is a multifunctional and multicultural space where the risk of conflict between the many stakeholders and users is high. This living space requires specially-adapted management methods based on a public private partnership benefiting from an all-round and coherent vision: town centre management and where all the players are called upon to work together, in a coherent way, for the benefit of their city as a whole. What is Town centre management ? Town Centre management helps stakeholders from the public, private, associative sectors and the civil society recognize that they have a mutual interest in collaborating by encouraging positive effects throughout the entire town centre. It has proven its worth in North America, Europe, more recently in Australasia and has emerged as a potent urban development tool. Town centre management is based on public-private partnerships and a shared interest in the city centre. This partnership gathers private and public stakeholders, whether from political, economic, associative or social areas, around a common project which consists in implementing a precisely-targeted and well-balanced strategy to answer the needs and expectations of its current and future users. The partnership strives to create the conditions for cities to be healthy, attractive and vibrant urban places. Every town centre is unique: this is why town centre management supports the development of unique partnerships that reflect the reality out in the field and works with groups that are the most appropriate to promote its development. The general operational structure, the work methods and the underpinning philosophy remain identical.
In order to assess the impact of the town centre management operations on the city core we have created a managing tool which appears to be a real aid to decision-making and re-adjustment of priority-tasks. Town centre management is a neutral interface between the public, private, associative sectors, the civil society and the city centre users. It acts as a catalyst, a coordinator and an incentive. Its objectives are to :
  • Reduce shop vacancy through marketing shopping streets, promoting the city centre, proactively looking for investors, brands, retailers, businesses, ..;
  • Improve the public realm's use, secure it thanks to the presence and action of urban stewards and workers;
  • Develop synergies between stakeholders from the public, the private, the associative sectors and the civil society;
  • Stop conflicts between the city centres protagonists;
  • Encourage transversality;
  • Incite the implementation of pragmatic and effective actions meeting users constraints;
  • Develop a real commercial strategy for the city;
  • Bring back city centres in retail real estate bandwagon;
  • Create new urban carreers (ie: town centre managers, urban stewards and workers, etc.).

Expert for Wallonia – creation of the all the town centre management structures in public-private partnerships in Wallonia, networking and continuous professionalization (coordination, technical support, tailored assistance in the definition and implementation of strategic plans, development of methodologic tools, training and specific coaching on matters such as urban development, commercial dynamic, pop-up places, place making, etc...), and setting-up of an urban observatory based upon the managing tool methodology. In addition to the town centre management–focused work in Belgium, we have assisted French town centre management set-ups in :
  • Tarbes
  • Monteux
  • La Réunion, French overseas department
Other market research in France : • Perspective study of the urban operation for the City of Aubenas
  • Opportunity study for the creation of a town centre management structure in Amiens
  • Co-construction of Tarbes strategic plan with local stakeholders 
  • Opportunity study for the creation of a town centre management structure in Salon de Provence 
  • Opportunity study for the creation of a town centre management structure in Valence 
  • Project management assistance in the co-construction of a commercial development strategy on the CAPI territory [Communauté d'agglomération Porte de l'Isère]
  • Elaboration of the vision and strategy for the COPAMO [communauté de communes du pays mornantais, Mornant, Rhône] territory 
  • Opportunity study for the creation of a town centre management structure in Roman 
  • Study for the feasibility and implementation of public-private partnerships in the Greater Lyon Urban Area for Lyon Metropolis Chamber of Commerce 
Set up of a place management structure for the European District in Brussels, Belgium for the European Quarter Fund. Elaboration of a strategy and a blueprint for Jemappes City Centre urban renewal – City of Mons, Belgium. Town centre management has considerably evolved in Europe and Anglo-Saxon countries for the past 25 years and is recognized at European level through the ISO 9001 certification TOCEMA This certification label opens the doors of a worldwide network of good practices and facilitates exchanges between the members of TOCEMA’s international think-tank. To know more and/ or apply for the certification, please, visit
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