Trade and hotel & catering industry

Commercial centres become 'providing' centres, with something for everyone, commercial, administrative, socio-cultural and recreational. Any reason to go to 'the centre' is a good reason. We take into account the 'changing' customer. Is it any wonder that the available range is also changing dramatically? Oh no. Let's get this transition right together.

Shopping streets, cosy squares with pubs and restaurants and shopping centres are places where meeting and relaxing are as important as shopping activities. Governments therefore bear an important responsibility for the benefit of visitors, entrepreneurs and investors in developing infrastructure and creating the right framework conditions.  So work on a sustainable plan to optimise the synergy between both parties. We provide a pragmatic translation of what the legislator prescribes and take into account the many socio-demographic, spatial, economic opportunities or bottlenecks. The economy often follows its own logic, but it cannot do without a legally secure and future-proof framework. That is what CityD does: identifying, developing and initiating opportunities and possibilities from a spatial-economic perspective, in close consultation with local governments, developers, investors and interest groups.

The law of supply and demand

Where people live together or spend time together, there are needs and expectations. This creates an economic dynamic of supply and demand. It is up to the government to facilitate this dynamic with a tailor-made perspective for the various functions. Investors and entrepreneurs can assess the desirability and feasibility of certain facilities within this framework. This is something both parties can work on, at local, provincial and regional levels.

Customisation and flexibility

If the behaviour of consumers and visitors changes, the offer for those same consumers will (have to) change too. Society is constantly evolving. Answers for eternity no longer exist. Customisation and flexibility do offer answers. Local governments are responsible for the framework. The focus is on interweaving, (re)designing public space, functionality and dynamic investments. This creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors who provide implementation. Vacant buildings are given new sustainable uses, collaborations lead to new synergies, in short, the urban fabric shows resilience.

CityD is your strategic partner for policy advice

Developing a vibrant city requires a thoughtful strategy. Rome was not built in one day either. That is why we work with strategic plans based on research and support.

If trade, services and hospitality form the software, then public space, sustainable but workable mobility and hip urban renewal are the hardware of the core, city or region.

CityD is your external partner, identifying the needs of each party. This is done through market analyses and feasibility studies that form the basis for policy plans, retail visions or strategic commercial plans. We bring all the necessary knowledge and experience and together we realise and implement clear and workable plans via tailor-made solutions.

Retail, catering and services

CityD creates retail visions or strategic-commercial plans tailored to the city or region, from research to promotional campaigns. Run-shopping, fun-shopping, experiences in all shapes and forms, for every city centre we look for the best formula. Sometimes globally, sometimes focused on one or more specific locations. CityD offers knowledge and experience in all aspects of the local economy in general, but also expertise in specific niches such as the weekly market, land and property policy, start-up initiatives, DNA and identity processes, etc. Following the principle of the active core and complementarity with developments in the periphery or sub-centres, we maximise the chances of success for a thriving local economy.

Local and regional governments need to set limits on how they want to handle their facilities policy. The Flemish government also requires cities and municipalities to permanently anchor their settlement principles in a municipal policy. But how should this take shape?

  • How do we want to deal with commercial facilities in the city centre, on access roads or in smaller centres?
  • How do we delineate shopping-rich or shopping-poor zones?
  • What balance do we seek and how do we ensure a long-term climate for investors and businesses?
  • Where do we want to enhance the living environment of residents and visitors?
  • How do we take into account that demanding customer who wants to be served?

CityD's plans go through the entire process, including support for its implementation. The plans are always in line with the principles of the Flemish government, laid down in the Decree on Integrated Settlement Policy, but are also tailored to the socio-economic and demographic resilience of the city or hinterland. With a solid plan, the local government can proactively and reactively deal smartly with the many questions it has to find answers to.

Hotel and catering industry

Restaurants and cafe's are so much more than a place to eat and drink. The social function of them cannot be overestimated. But above all, the catering industry is often where visitors to a city or municipality arrive first. That can count in terms of PR content. Moreover, the catering offer is also an expression of a location's distinctiveness and often linked to recreational, cultural or tourism trends.

The hotel and catering sector is changing very fast, first and foremost, of course, because the customer is changing a lot. We see new formulas and niche businesses popping up everywhere, often in combination with mixed concepts. With a hospitality policy plan, the municipality succeeds in responding optimally to the needs of consumers with all these different expectations, expressions and possibilities. Again, it is important that the sector itself rely on a long-term investment framework. There is also the link with tourism, with events, with the appearance of the public domain.

 Beer may not be in the Flemish canon, but a city without a thriving hotel and catering industry is like a pub without beer. A strong hospitality industry brings not only prosperity but, above all, well-being.

Trade and hotel and catering services

  • Strategic business plan | Retail vision
  • Horeca policy plan
  • Research on purchase flows
  • Plan to combat problem of commercial vacancy
  • Delineation of core shopping areas
  • Integrated location policy
  • Guidance in case of extension
  • Retail environmental licence
  • Branch models
  • Potential survey
  • Calculation of market space
  • Mystery shopping among individual entrepreneurs
  • Mystery shopping in the centre (unique!)
  • Urban planning regulations and policy-driven retail developments


  • Drawing up of an Integral Trade Policy for Ostend (ongoing)
  • Spatial retail vision Hasselt
  • Strategic commercial plan Dendermonde
  • Collective Learning Projects for the Business Core (De Kernmeesters), Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Epplejeck, expansion guidance
  • Various retail licences
  • Inspiration platform De Vitrine, Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Updated commercial vision for the centre of Diepenbeek
  • Dilbeek catering policy plan
  • Retail vision for Ternat
  • Core reinforcement Nossegem and Sterrebeek, Zaventem
  • Retail pilot projects Oostrozebeke, Westende-Bad and Hooglede, POM West-Vlaanderen
  • Retail centre plan Lummen 
  • Retail policy plan Ghent
  • Beringen catering policy plan
  • Support of local economy Zaventem
  • Support of local economy Overijse
  • Retail policy paper for the city of Brussels and commercial web observatory
  • Mystery shopping West Flemish centre cities, POM West Flanders
  • Centre study Alken
  • Development start-up initiative Dilbeek for Durvers, Dilbeek
  • Delineation of the core shopping area of Aalst
  • Roosdaal shopping plan
  • Retail study Leuven
  • Feasibility study and branching proposal for the Nelissen site, Leuvensesteenweg, Tienen
  • Demarcation of the core shopping area of Dilbeek
  • Shopping plan Bruges
  • Upgrading and structural approach to vacancy around K in Kortrijk
  • Defining the catchment area of the new retail park, Geraardsbergen
  • Vision for large-scale retail developments in Turnhout
  • Retail market space calculation model development, POM West-Vlaanderen
  • Commercial inspiration of traders project
  • Coaching trade associations, POM West-Vlaanderen
  • Retail policy paper, Antwerp
  • Support research into the future of the Hasselt weekly market
  • Provincial retail vision of Limburg
  • Development vision of (Neer-)Pelt
  • Lommel shopping plan
  • Centre study Lanaken
  • Vilvoorde shopping plan
  • Strategic commercial plan Aarschot
  • Retail study Mechelen

City Marketing and Centre Management

It is clear that the gem of CityD lies in city marketing and centre management. The manager started in 1999 as the first centre manager in Flanders for the city of Genk. The inner city bug never faded. The first assignment was to draw an inner-city marketing plan for the non-profit organization Centrummanagement Genk. Today, CityD guides many cities in strategic communication and city marketing and often implements approved plans. This translates into targeted city or center management, depending on the chosen focus. The essence is always the same: together we can do more and vision without execution is a dead letter.

Spatial economics

CityD can help shape spatial policy as a partner of local governments. From its background in consultancy on spatial-economic issues, it is the ideal partner to define strategic policy visions for the area and develop instruments. Doing so, CityD contributes to achieving the spatial-economic objectives of the administration.

Tourism and leisure

How do you ensure that tourists, residents, visitors, culture lovers, conference guests and recreationists find their way to your city or location? And how do you deal with redevelopment, MICE actors and supra-local collaborations, also for locations without government exploitation? With a strong strategic plan you make your location, city or region more than attractive.

Real estate and area development

Buildings and spaces that are being developed today require the use of sustainable raw materials and substantial financial resources. Development is therefore best thought through from a long-term perspective, taking into account the needs of the market and of future generations. CityD helps you limit the risks of your real estate project or area development through thorough research and clear future-proof visions. This for developer, government and investor alike.


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