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  • Writer's picturechris mcg

Achieving sustainable development in our town centres

Sale is not the obvious choice for a sustainable town centre, after all the original centre was built in the 1960s like so many across the UK a modernist roll out that served the needs of the community at the time bringing local retailers into one convenient place servicing tehlocal residents. In 1973, the shopping precinct in the town centre, was redeveloped and pedestrianised in an attempt to increase trade. In 2003 the Square Shopping Centre underwent a £7 million refurbishment, in an attempt to bring trade back to the town from the near by Trafford Centre. It was never going to end well and as internet retail further erodes bricks and mortar an easy solution needed some creative and visionary thinking. Is this repurposing outside the ability of local authorities ?

In an era of growing environmental awareness and urban development, the concept of sustainable town centers has emerged as a beacon of hope for creating vibrant, resilient communities. These centers serve as focal points for social interaction, economic activity, and cultural exchange while prioritizing principles of environmental stewardship and resource efficiency. Let's explore the key elements that contribute to the creation of sustainable town centers, emphasizing the integration of keywords relevant to this vital topic.

1. Mixed-Use Development:

Sustainable town centers embrace mixed-use development, integrating residential, commercial, and recreational spaces within a compact and walkable environment. This approach reduces the need for car travel, minimizes carbon emissions, and fosters a sense of community by promoting interaction between residents and businesses.

2. Green Infrastructure:

Incorporating green infrastructure, such as parks, green spaces, and urban forests, is essential for enhancing the environmental sustainability of town centers. These features improve air quality, mitigate urban heat island effects, and provide recreational opportunities for residents, contributing to overall well-being and quality of life.

3. Public Transportation:

Accessible and efficient public transportation systems play a vital role in sustainable town centers by reducing reliance on private vehicles and promoting alternative modes of transportation. Well-connected transit networks facilitate mobility, reduce traffic congestion, and lower carbon emissions, making town centers more accessible and environmentally friendly.

4. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Sustainable town centers prioritize energy efficiency measures and incorporate renewable energy sources to minimize environmental impact and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Implementing energy-efficient building designs, utilizing solar panels, and adopting sustainable energy practices contribute to long-term sustainability and resilience.

5. Local Sourcing and Community Engagement:

Promoting local sourcing and community engagement is fundamental to the sustainability of town centers. Supporting local businesses, farmers' markets, and community initiatives fosters economic resilience, strengthens social ties, and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation and supply chains.

6. Resilience Planning:

Sustainable town centers implement resilience planning strategies to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of climate change, natural disasters, and other environmental challenges. Incorporating green infrastructure, flood management systems, and adaptive building designs ensures the long-term viability and resilience of these communities.


Sustainable town centers represent a holistic approach to urban development that prioritizes environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic prosperity. By embracing principles of mixed-use development, green infrastructure, public transportation, energy efficiency, local sourcing, and resilience planning, these centers serve as models for creating thriving communities that balance the needs of present and future generations. Through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, we can build sustainable town centers that foster a sense of belonging, enhance quality of life, and safeguard the planet for generations to come.

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