The dichotomy of clone towns

April 10, 2008

My mind is not made up as to whether Clone Towns have either a positive or negative influence on the success of a suburban town centre. As my colleague posted in an earlier blog, a response to an article in the Times, national chains such as Waitrose and Café Nero are by many locals perceived to be indicators of success, and may not have such a negative impact as has been previously suggested. Is it just that, Clone Towns are a social construct that simply reflect the perceptions and subjections of the researcher, which often arise during in social research?

To explore this notion of clone towns in London’s suburbs we have a student working on the project who is classifying all the retail activity in our sample centres and their surrounding neighbourhoods. He will be grouping all the shops according to the clone town classification developed by NEF to determine the presence or absence of retail cloning in the suburbs.

The results of this student project will then be used in conjunction with the spatial indicators of movement potentials and integration, developed by the Space Syntax methodology, to investigate the relationship between the location of different types of shops and the spatial attributes of the built form of the suburban town centre. I will report back on findings when the student project and the following project analysis has been completed.

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