- Valuing service and retail structures in core areas of cities   click here to open paper content1750 kb
by    Ledwon, Slawomir | slawomir.ledwon@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper describes the methodology to evaluate service and retail
structures in cities in relation to their spatial form and possible future
Contemporary, rapid changes in cities create the need to evaluate and
protect its existing structure. Many elements are analysed and evaluated.
Built structure, urban and architectural heritage, historical landmarks,
scarcity of environmental assets are all very precious. But what is also
natural to the centre itself are its functional features. One of them is
retailing. Over time services have been exposed to many pressures. New
shopping centres built outside cities aided sprawl, and this sprawl created
demand to build new centres. Apart from that more of the public space and
social activity has moved to virtual space – communication over distance
sometimes seems easier than in close proximity. In this case “traditional”
urban activity is also an asset of the city core. What stimulates that are
vibrant high streets. Over time retail formats are also changing.
Competition from virtual space is competitive to traditional brick and
mortar outlets, these also adapt and change to face new demands. All these
create new circumstances to plan new retail and service networks and look
differently at their role in cities.

The article describes the methodology for identifying, surveying and
evaluating existing city centre’s service and retail structure. By
recording information about spatial location of services that is combined
with basic information about their types a database is created. This method
also introduces an innovative smartphone application that aids surveying,
which is also described in the article. Based on this data an assessment of
the core structure can be made that illustrates the spatial distribution of
different outlets. It can also help do determine central areas. A case
study of Polish city Gdynia is analysed over time in 1998, 2008 and 2012.
Changes are also related to changing retail formats as well as strategies
to locate new large shopping centres. The article also argues how the
condition of these structures can be evaluated and looks on strategies how
inner cities can be intensified while remaining the right mix and balance
of services. Apart from that it questions which of them are really valuable
to citizens.
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