The review, announced as part of a regeneration strategy published this week, will be conducted by the Scottish government in partnership with councils, community groups and other key organisations.
The strategy document says that the review is intended to assess potential solutions to the issues faced by Scotland's town centres and enable a measured, long-term approach to regeneration.
The announcement follows a consultancy report for the Scottish government that highlighted the need for town centre regeneration to be based on a clear strategy.
The report also said that it can be hard to monitor the vitality of town centres because there is no one agreed way of carrying out health checks on such locations.
Craig McLaren, national director for the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, called for the introduction of a framework to measure the success of town centres.
"There needs to be a clear vision from the Scottish government on town centres' future role and where resources will come from," he said.
The Scottish government said the results of the review will help it to allocate resources from its regeneration investment fund. A spokeswoman could not confirm when the review will start or give any more details on what it will cover.
The regeneration strategy also reveals that Scotland's urban regeneration companies will be able to apply for new funding streams to continue their work. These include a £50 million Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) fund for regeneration projects, created with European urban renewal money.
The regeneration strategy is available via PlanningResource.co.uk/go/referencesection