chapter  9
16 Pages

Libraries and urban vitality

The research itself grew out of an earlier Comedia study on urban vitality, the Out of Hours study of 1991, which looked into the social, economic and cultural life of 12 towns in Britain. That study concentrated on town centres as focal points of local civic culture, as transport hubs, as retailing, commercial and civic centres, as magnets for night-life and entertainment, and as the places in which most unique local identities had been forged, architecturally and historically. That study attempted to chart the "social vitality" of urban centres in contemporary Britain, and to outline the problems that prevented them from becoming safe, accessible and welcoming to all sections of the community. Once again, in brief, it was about the quality of the local public realm.