Civic center

A civic center or civic centre is a prominent land area within a community that is constructed to be its focal point or center. It usually contains one or more dominant public buildings, which may also include a government building. Recently, the term "civic center" has been used in reference to an entire central business district of a community or a major shopping center in the middle of a community. In this type of civic center, special attention is paid to the way public structures are grouped and landscaped.

In some American cities, a multi-purpose arena is named "Civic Center", for example Columbus Civic Center. Such "Civic Centers" combine venues for sporting events, theaters, concerts and similar events.

In Australia, Civic Centre is used as a brand of Shopping Centre.

Notable civic centers


North America

United Kingdom

In most cases civic centres in the UK are a focus for local government offices and public service buildings. The Cardiff Civic Centre is probably the oldest and best preserved civic centre in the UK. With the reforms of local government in London in 1965 and across England in anticipation of the implementation of the Redcliffe-Maud Report in 1974, a number of local authorities commissioned new civic centres sometimes funded by disposing of their 19th Century Town Hall buildings. Sir Basil Spence was responsible for designing three of these civic centres:

  • Hampstead Civic Centre, which was only partially completed; and of which only the Swiss Cottage Library (1964) still exists.[1]
  • Sunderland Civic Centre (1970).[2]
  • Kensington and Chelsea Civic Centre (1977).[3]

Other noteworthy civic centres include:


  1. Royal Institutes of British Architects press release - Swiss Cottage Gallery
  2. Visual Arts Data Service - Sunderland Civic Centre Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Virtual Museum
  4. Moseley, Brian (21 February 2013). "Civic Centre". The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
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