Many town and city centres now operate for 18 hours, if not a full 4 hours. There has been a huge change in lifestyles since the days when town centres were dedicated mainly to shopping 9am to 5pm, with a male-dominated drinking culture after hours. The last wave of new development in town centres has ushered in a new mix of leisure, entertainment and shopping. This shows just how vital the leisure economy and more flexible hours are to the future survival and vitality of centres. The challenges of managing and controlling town and city centres after hours are well documented, and the negative impacts are well publicised.
This report accentuates the positive and sets out an inspirational agenda for change. It is based on seven years of original research and practical pilot initiatives led by the former Civic Trust, in co-operation with key interest groups, both in the UK and abroad. There were several practical outcomes, including the NightVision: Town Centres for All (October 2006) publication, eight NightVision pilot initiatives designed to test the report's findings and the development of the Purple Flag Accreditation scheme for better town centres at night, which is now managed by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM). In much of this work the BCSC Educational Trust has been a valued partner.