- Creative commercial city centres   click here to open paper content62 kb
by    Lourenço, Julia & Bardi, Tiziana | jloure@civil.uminho.pt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Some historical city centres have been able to survive the competition against shopping centres in the periphery. Four European towns will be presented as case studies.
Most European towns face the desertification of their city centres from prime commercial functions that slowly are being taken by big shopping centres in the periphery.
Nevertheless, some historical city centres have been able to survive the competition and in some cases even beat it, such as Braga city centre in Portugal.
Genoa in Italy has also suffered much in the seventies and eighties but after 1992 with investments on « Colombiadi » has been able to promote the value of the city centre and the old harbour area « Porto antico ».
Other towns such as Porto in Portugal and Nice in France have not succeeded in re-launching prime commercial activities in the city centre. This, despite both towns´ importance in the national economies and their important built heritage, classified as World Heritage area in the case of Porto. Nevertheless, Nice has succeeded in associating its historical area with tourist shopping and in identifying an interesting commercial circuit in the modern centre. Porto, on the other side, still seems to have a longer way to go as it really needs a serious intervention. Some steps are being taken, namely a Society “Porto Vivo” has been created and has already started to make proposals for the city centre trying to attract private investment.

This paper will present some analysis towards the unexpected creativity and dynamic behaviour of the two previous towns in comparison with socio-economic problems faced by the two last mentioned towns. Listing of local development policies, namely urban, accessibility, mobility, re-development projects, promotion and marketing of the city centre, local problems will enable the comparison of dynamic factors, thus allowing some conclusions in the cross-comparative approach.
city centre / creative cities / commercial use
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