When you think about shopping local, you often think about different districts.  Each of these areas have a different character that influences how people describe them. Usually, it’s the mix of local businesses that help define an area. Locally owned businesses are a key part of this – whether serving the needs of local residents or attracting a broader range of customers from across the city or region. Local ownership gives particular flavour to an area. While shopping is central for contributing to local character, it is one part of a larger picture. The physical spaces and social activities that are part of an area also influence the character of a district.  Civicplan has developed methods that aim to take this thinking further. One tool, called a Community Handprint, measures a number of elements that work together to help describe the character of a particular area or district.