PM Study, Transformation of city centres

Our representative online survey of more than 1,000 households, conducted in collaboration with the Technical University of Darmstadt, reveals people's dissatisfaction with the status quo in our city centres. The following observations are of particular note:

  • 6 of 11 city centre features have declined in quality and therefore attractiveness.
  • Many respondents (41%) perceive a loss of appeal, particularly when it comes to living in the city centre.
  • There is also a clear need for improvement in terms of consumer and supply services,→ the quality of public spaces, meeting opportunities, green and public spaces and workplaces.
  • Based on the results of the entire survey, an improvement in the retail trade alone is not likely to significantly increase the attractiveness of the city centre.
  • This is particularly true for the key target group of affluent city dwellers ("sophisticated singles"). Only 37% of them would like to see a more attractive retail sector.
  • At the same time, however, retail remains the main reason for a visit to the city centre at the weekend for almost 60% of those surveyed. During the week, this figure is 41%.
  • Overall, the survey shows great potential for new office use. Only 11% of those surveyed currently work in the city centre, but a further 40% could well imagine doing so.

Building on the results of the first survey, we conducted a further survey among the citizens. Citizens were asked about their preferences regarding the allocation of resources in the city centre district, sustainability in the city centre district and the (new) use of department stores' properties. These are the results:

  • Essentially, citizens prefer a city with short distances between shopping, entertainment/leisure/recreation and living spaces, with plenty of green space and a focus on bicycle/pedestrian-friendly design and public transport.
  • 47% would prefer living on the fourth floor
  • High preference rates for residential use usually go hand in hand with the desire for office use and the need to live and work in the city centre.
  • Small-scale and large-scale retail in the lower price segment tends to be viewed unfavourably, particularly on the high-visibility floors. On the other hand, premium retail, local shops, boutiques and restaurants, as well as basic services, would meet the preferences of the respondents.
  • The use of roof terraces is particularly important to the citizens surveyed. This has a higher importance of 12% than ground-floor use for city centre users.
  • On roof terraces, respondents would primarily favour kitchen gardens, followed by cafés with roof gardens and small-scale restaurants.


  • In order to create sustainable concepts, data must be used as a basis for aligning re-utilisation concepts with the local socioeconomic structure and its needs.
  • Saving city centres is not about saving the retail trade, but about creating a mix of uses that meets demand.
  • Some uses, such as small-scale, low-cost retail, are not wanted by the citizens. The re-utilisation of vacant properties "at all costs" can reduce overall acceptance of the building and generate losses.
  • The implementation of housing requires particularly strong mixed-use concepts that enable a work-life combination. More housing also means more offices and more accompanying services.
  • The use of roof terraces is very important to people. A glance at the roofs of German city centres reveals untapped potential here.

You can find the complete studies here:
Arbeitspapier_Nr._53.pdf (
Arbeitspapier_Nr._52.pdf (

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Bea Steindor

Head of Marketing & Communications