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    Exploring the concept of town centre paradigms and how they impact on town centre retail landscapes

    Hehir, Alan, Warnaby, Gary ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6696-6671 and Theodoridis, Costas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2645-9226 (2023) Exploring the concept of town centre paradigms and how they impact on town centre retail landscapes. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 41 (1). pp. 37-55. ISSN 2399-6544

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    The radical changes to the UK town centre retail landscape over the past 60 years are well documented. What are less well documented are accounts of how the internal processes of town centre governance impact on the retail landscape. From the 1990s UK government dictums, aimed at arresting decline, have advised local authorities to engage with local stakeholders and invite otherwise excluded stakeholders into the previously established rituals and routines of local governance. The aim of this paper is to analyse the influence of the ‘organisational culture(s)’ of town centre custodians (which we conceptualise as the ‘town centre paradigm’) on their actions to improve the retail vitality and viability of their locale. Through a comparative case study of four UK town centres manifesting contrasting governance ‘stereotypes’, we explore how different town centre ‘custodians’ interpret government policies and, perhaps more importantly, how their behaviour impacts on the retail development landscapes of their town centres.

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