Step 2: Studying Your Town

Getting Started_Teal.jpg

You’ve got your Town Team in place.  Now it’s time to find out more about your town.  What’s your town’s story?  What makes your town unique?  Why does it look and feel the way it does?


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In this step you will:

  • Get to understand the physical character of your town
  • Evaluate and describe your town
  • Gather evidence to inform your decisions and support your proposals
  • Continue to gain community support

The study should be carried out by your Town Team and its consultants, but don’t forget to make use of the wealth of knowledge and experience that already exists in your community.

Shape My Town will help you explore three aspects of the built environment:

Equipment you may find useful:

  • Maps - Have maps available at different scales to cover the town, the wider landscape and the specific area of your study.
  • Camera – Snap interesting views, details, spaces and materials with a digital camera.  You can use your photos to illustrate your findings.
  • Sketch book – Try drawing some of the things you study.  It will help you to get to know your town better.

Find out more...

Shape My Town focuses on the built environment - the buildings of your town and the spaces between and around them.  However, there are other complimentary toolkits that could be used alongside this one to explore different aspects of your town:

Placecheck - Placecheck offers a way of exploring aspects of a place including character, accessibility, safety and sustainability

Knowing Your Place - English Heritage guide to understanding heritage as part of a community led plan

Mapping Local Food Webs Toolkit - A toolkit focussed on understanding where food comes from, who supplies it, where it is sold and who consumes it

Action for Market Towns: Market Town Benchmarking - A nationally recognised toolkit with 12 key indicators, including retail confidence, footfall, business confidence, town centre user surveys and shoppers origin.  Your survey is compared to the AMT database of towns, allowing simple comparisons to be made between towns

Plan LoCaL: Planning for Low Carbon Living - PlanLoCaL is a set of resources including films, a resource pack and a website to support communities and groups that are 'planning for low carbon living'

Association of Town Centre Management: First Impressions Exercise - The First Impressions Exercise provides a simple and inexpensive mechanism to gain valuable feedback and insights from a neutral source with no local vested interests.  It is a simple tool to provide feedback to a community from a "first time" visitor by pairing up locations willing to visit each other

Be inspired by...  Mold Sense of Place Study

Mold is Wales’ first Cittaslow town, an international movement to enhance quality of life in small towns, which grew out of the Slow Food movement. Click here to find out more.


Start studying... Landscape