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The Denver 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,[when?] 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.[citation needed] 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, a civic centre can refer to a civic precinct, a show or meeting venue, or can also be used as a brand of Shopping Centre.[citation needed]

Notable civic centers


North America

After the amalgamation of Toronto in 1998, five of the six municipalities in the former Metro Toronto used the Civic Centre name in referring to their respective city halls before its abolition.

United Kingdom

Cardiff Civic Centre, Wales

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:

Other noteworthy civic centres include:





  1. ^ Royal Institutes of British Architects press release - Swiss Cottage Gallery[permanent dead link]
  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.
  5. ^ Khaleed Ashraf, Kazi (1987). "Karachi Civic Centre". MIT Dome. Retrieved 13 December 2023.