The retail sector is fundamental to many local, regional and national economies and social structures, yet is experiencing a prolonged period of change and uncertainty. Rapid and significant changing consumer behaviour, retailer rationalisation and financial pressures, and increasing concerns over anti-social behaviour and the accessibility and security of traditionally public places are significant economic and social drivers of change. Policy-makers, in response to such challenges, have sought to respond by seeking to enable the re-creation of more resilient and adaptable centres within the UK’s retailing hierarchy, recognising and supporting their role as multi-functional places. Here, we begin a new research project that seeks to explore resilience in the retail sector using the five case study cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool and Nottingham. The first step is mapping previously disparate strands of secondary data to begin to reveal links between ownership, use, the allocation of space for diverse service provision, leisure and social interaction and the adaptive capacity of the built environment. These data have not been brought together previously and, to do so, represents a very significant challenge and a significant opportunity for the advancement of knowledge. The consequent analysis of urban change will reveal areas not previously explored or, therefore, understood.