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Special Issue "Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021) | Viewed by 20316

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Herculano Cachinho
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Universidade de Lisboa Edifício IGOT, Rua Branca Edmée Marques, 1600-276 Lisboa | Portugal
Interests: Retail location theory; retail resilience; retail planning; consumption- led urban regeneration; consumerscapes; urban governance; rhythmanalysis, spatial capital, spatial justice, powerful knowledge, active learning
Prof. Teresa Barata-Salgueiro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Universidade de Lisboa Edifício IGOT, Rua Branca Edmée Marques, 1600-276 Lisboa | Portugal
Interests: Production of the built environment; urban regeneration, tourism and real estate; segregation and fragmentation of cities; public policy; urban retail and consumption

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

By 2050, approximately 70% of the world’s population will be urban (United Nations, 2010). The scope of the urbanization process challenges cities to remain competitive, to attract investment, to create jobs and ensure the welfare of people in a sustainable development framework. However, in recent years, several experiences in public policy, governance, mobility, or in the system of the supply of goods can be seen as clear signs of change in how we are dealing with urban problems. It is likely that the future city will be built around a new more sustainable paradigm, which will be characterised by compactness and polycentrism, the regeneration of built environment instead of sprawl, greener forms of mobility, and more sustainable ways of life.

Retailing has always played a key role in the dynamism of cities and in the population’s quality of life. However, the changes it has undergone have created large imbalances in the economic structure and spatial organization of urban retail systems. These shifts challenge the economic viability of many retail concepts, jeopardize the vitality of the traditional shopping districts and put at risk the sustainability of the cities.

Considering the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals of UN, the studies of this Special Issue are expected to address:

  • The development of new retail concepts and shopping spaces and their implications for the resilience of urban retail systems
  • The theoretical discussion and measurement of spatial vulnerability and resilience of retail centres
  • The digital challenge for the high street resilience
  • The relationship between sustainability, shopping travel, and retail policy and planning.
  • The critical analysis of retail-led regeneration schemes in the enhancement of urban liveability and the development of sustainable lifestyles
  • The evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of retail-led regeneration projects for the competitiveness of cities throughout the urban hierarchy.
  • Opportunities and threats of gentrification to the reinvention of retail concepts and shopping districts

Prof. Herculano Cachinho
Prof. Teresa Barata-Salgueiro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • retail resilience
  • retail policy and planning
  • retail- led urban regeneration
  • retail gentrification
  • urban governance
  • urban sustainability
  • assessment methods

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability. Introduction to the Special Issue
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413639 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
Contemporary urbanization process threatens our environment, challenges the livability of cities, their ability to build localized competitive advantages, to attract investment, to create jobs and ensure the well-being of people in a sustainable development path [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Places of Phygital Shopping Experiences? The New Supply Frontier of Business Improvement Districts in the Digital Age
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13150; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313150 - 27 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have flourished as local governance structures to foster the vitality and viability of traditional shopping districts that have struggled to adapt to retail changes. This paper examines the evolution of placemaking activities that former UK government-funded pilot BIDs have [...] Read more.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have flourished as local governance structures to foster the vitality and viability of traditional shopping districts that have struggled to adapt to retail changes. This paper examines the evolution of placemaking activities that former UK government-funded pilot BIDs have delivered over the last 15 years. Drawing on an exploratory sequential research design that combines a qualitative and quantitative thematic analysis of 72 BIDs’ business plans, the findings suggest that UK BIDs have described a non-hierarchical operational framework as services providers considering that: (i) elementary placemaking services, such as ‘clean, green and safe’, have regained thematic relevance due to recent environmental sustainability concerns; (ii) higher-tier lobbying and advocacy services have been an operational priority since BIDs’ inception; (iii) while consumer and place marketing/branding services have seen continual thematic reductions, digital presence and marketing services have emerged as a new category of operational activities. These results extend place management and BID-related literature by discussing the growing role that digital marketing services may perform in the management of town centers and high streets and are relevant to practitioners as it discusses how place management organizations should reposition their operational strategies towards the creation of places of phygital shopping experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Retail Structure in Barcelona: From Tourism-Phobia to the Desertification of City Center
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158215 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1862
Abstract
COVID-19 has meant major transformations for commercial fabric. These transformations have been motivated by the collapse of consumer mobility at multiple scales. We analyzed the impact of the collapse of global tourist flows on the commercial fabric of Barcelona city center, a city [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has meant major transformations for commercial fabric. These transformations have been motivated by the collapse of consumer mobility at multiple scales. We analyzed the impact of the collapse of global tourist flows on the commercial fabric of Barcelona city center, a city that has been a global reference in over-tourism and tourism-phobia. Fieldwork in the main commercial areas before and after the pandemic and complementary semi-structured interviews with the main agents involved highlight the relationship between global tourist flows and commercial fabric. The paper shows how the end of global tourism has meant an important commercial desertification. The end of the integration of the city center into global consumer flows has implications for urban theory. It means a downscaling of the city center and the questioning of traditional center-periphery dynamics. It has been shown that the tourist specialization of commerce has important effects on the real estate market and makes it particularly vulnerable. However, the touristic specialization of commercial activities as a strategy of resilience has also been presented. This adaptation faces the generalized commercial desertification that drives the growing concentration of consumption around the online channel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Retail Policies and Urban Change in Naples City Center: Challenges to Resilience and Sustainability from a Mediterranean City
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7620; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147620 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 924
Abstract
Political discourses, public discussions, and studies in different fields have increasingly focused on the vulnerabilities affecting cities and on the possible responses to them, which are often traced back to urban resilience and sustainability. Research and debates in the field of retailing and [...] Read more.
Political discourses, public discussions, and studies in different fields have increasingly focused on the vulnerabilities affecting cities and on the possible responses to them, which are often traced back to urban resilience and sustainability. Research and debates in the field of retailing and consumption geographies are no exception. To carry out a critical analysis on the retail policies associated with the urban commercial change of the Naples city center, the case study is placed in the context of the literature review focusing on three concepts: spatial vulnerability, adaptive resilience, and territorialized sustainability. The analysis is conducted combining data, policy, and planning documents with long-term field research. The changing relationship between consumption practices, retail dynamics, and policies highlights a sort of hybridization of commercial and consumption central cityscapes, which is produced by the coexistence between retail-led phenomena of regeneration and forms of local resistance. The results of the research highlight, from a Mediterranean perspective, new general insights on the impact of selective forms of vulnerability and on the adaptive resilience strategies adopted, but most of all on the indispensable rethinking of the urban retail governance for the enhancement of urban livability, social cohesion, and locally sustainable lifestyles, activities, and places. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
The Role of Community-Led Food Retailers in Enabling Urban Resilience
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7563; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147563 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1900
Abstract
Our research examines the extent to which community-led food retailers (CLFRs) contribute to the resilience and sustainability of urban retail systems and communities in the UK, contributing to existing debates on the sustainability and resilience of the UK’s urban retail sector. While existing [...] Read more.
Our research examines the extent to which community-led food retailers (CLFRs) contribute to the resilience and sustainability of urban retail systems and communities in the UK, contributing to existing debates on the sustainability and resilience of the UK’s urban retail sector. While existing literature has predominantly focused on larger retail multiples, we suggest more attention be paid to small, independent retailers as they possess a broader, more diffuse spatiality and societal impact than that of the immediate locale. Moreover, their local embeddedness and understanding of the needs of the local customer base provide a key source of potentially sustainable competitive advantage. Using spatial and relational resilience theories, and drawing on 14 original qualitative interviews with CLFRs, we establish the complex links between community, place, social relations, moral values, and resilience that manifest through CLFRs. In doing so, we advance the conceptualization of community resilience by acknowledging that in order to realise the networked, resilient capacities of a community, the moral values and behavior of the retail community need to be ascertained. Implications and relevant recommendations are provided to secure a more sustainable set of capacities needed to ensure resilient, urban retail systems which benefit local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Urban Shopping Malls and Sustainability Approaches in Chilean Cities: Relations between Environmental Impacts of Buildings and Greenwashing Branding Discourses
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7228; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137228 - 28 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1204
Abstract
This article seeks to discuss the recent discrepancies between the environmental effects of large retail buildings located in urban centers and the media and corporate discourses that these retailers have on the environment and sustainability to the public and to local authorities. By [...] Read more.
This article seeks to discuss the recent discrepancies between the environmental effects of large retail buildings located in urban centers and the media and corporate discourses that these retailers have on the environment and sustainability to the public and to local authorities. By using mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative data analysis of two of the biggest shopping centers in Santiago de Chile, this exploratory research seeks to inaugurate an interdisciplinary academic discussion on the relevance of comparing the media discourses about sustainability issued by urban developers and the physical effects that massive private buildings create in their surroundings. By using the retail resilience theoretical framework, this research seeks to understand the disruption in retail systems, both from socio-economic and environmental indicators. Comparing the environmentally sensitive discourses promoted by Chilean retailers in advertising campaigns and corporate speeches with the environmental effects that large retail buildings brought to the surrounding areas in terms of urban deforestation and increasing superficial temperature, this paper probes that greenwashing campaign are not only used to impact corporate legitimacy with consumers and investors but also to deliberately diminish the environmental responsibilities of private developers in vulnerable urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Spreading of Food Deserts in Time and Space: The Case of the City of Nitra (Slovakia)
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137138 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
The aim of the article is to evaluate the time availability of food stores for the population permanently residing in the city of Nitra (Slovakia). Parts of the city where poor accessibility has been identified can be described as “food deserts”. In the [...] Read more.
The aim of the article is to evaluate the time availability of food stores for the population permanently residing in the city of Nitra (Slovakia). Parts of the city where poor accessibility has been identified can be described as “food deserts”. In the last two decades, there have been dramatic changes in the retail network in Nitra, as well as extensive housing construction and an aging change in the demographic structure. Therefore, we evaluated the years 2008 and 2019 separately. This made it possible to evaluate the changes in time availability and the number of inhabitants located in individual zones. During the years 2008–2019, the residential zones of the city of Nitra increased by 43.86%, the area of food desert increased by up to 68.78%, and the number of inhabitants endangered by the food desert increased by 1100 residents, i.e., 23.9%. In 2008, 5.51% of Nitra’s residents lived in the food deserts, in approximately twelve years this percentage increased to 7.45% of the population (2019). The proximity to the nearest grocery was in Nitra in 2008 median 504 m, while in 2019 median 623 m. Evaluating the time availability of grocery stores and identifying so-called “food deserts” can be interesting for both the city’s residents and the business community, especially for potential developers. It can also be used effectively in the spatial planning process and in the rational management of complex territorial development, as well as in local politics. Given the character of the city of Nitra, it can be assumed that the acquired knowledge can be extrapolated to other post-socialist cities of a similar size and hierarchical level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Towns, High Streets and Resilience in Scotland: A Question for Policy?
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5631; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105631 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1319
Abstract
The “death of the high street” has become a common refrain, particularly in the United Kingdom, often accompanied by calls for action and demands for improved resilience in town centres and high streets. This paper considers the policy context for towns and town [...] Read more.
The “death of the high street” has become a common refrain, particularly in the United Kingdom, often accompanied by calls for action and demands for improved resilience in town centres and high streets. This paper considers the policy context for towns and town centres in Scotland and the recent review of the country’s approach to towns, town centres and places. With the adoption of National Outcomes linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the declaration of a Climate Emergency, the conclusion is drawn that a more fundamental and radical shift in policy is needed, if the resilience of town centres is to have any meaning, and that a clearer and more widely understood conceptualisation of resilience needs to be developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Public Policy for Sustainability and Retail Resilience in Lisbon City Center
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9433; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229433 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1838
Abstract
International organizations, public authorities and researchers have increasingly been concerned with urban resilience and sustainability. We focus on the triangle retail, urban resilience and city sustainability, aiming to uncover how cities have coped with retail challenges to increase their resilience towards a sustainable [...] Read more.
International organizations, public authorities and researchers have increasingly been concerned with urban resilience and sustainability. We focus on the triangle retail, urban resilience and city sustainability, aiming to uncover how cities have coped with retail challenges to increase their resilience towards a sustainable path, highlighting the role played by public policy. The case study asks, is Central Lisbon strongly affected by processes of regeneration, touristification and gentrification, simultaneously with changes in retail. The analysis of planning and other policy documents complemented by fieldwork evidence shows a close link between public initiatives and private entrepreneurship and their impacts in the vitality of the core. The text shows that the policy outlined by local authorities to overcome the decline of the city center and to meet the aims of sustainability implies urban resilience. The transformation of retail is aligned with that vision and is supported its achievement, while the commercial fabric suffered an evolution from shopping to consumption spaces, polarized by culture and entertainment, targeting new consumers and lifestyles. However, new social and economic challenges arise due to escalating housing prices, change in retail supply, the excessive dependence of tourism and the danger of losing part of the city’s identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Characteristics Analysis of Commercial Gentrification in Seoul Focusing on the Vitalization of Streets in Residential Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8877; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218877 - 26 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
This study examines commercial gentrification, focusing on areas where commercial gentrification occurred or was expected to occur in Seoul, Korea. To identify the general phases of commercial gentrification, we used data collected from January 2015 to January 2019 by cluster analysis. Cluster analysis [...] Read more.
This study examines commercial gentrification, focusing on areas where commercial gentrification occurred or was expected to occur in Seoul, Korea. To identify the general phases of commercial gentrification, we used data collected from January 2015 to January 2019 by cluster analysis. Cluster analysis was conducted with a ratio of terms including “birth”, “replacement”, and “vacancy”, and characteristics including the “homogenization index”, “chain stores”, “vitalization”, and the “front width of stores” were applied. The contributions of this study are as follows. Three clusters were formed and supplemented according to differing types of industry change. Cluster 1 represents a stage where commerce has begun to penetrate residential areas, and it can be seen that gentrification has just started. Cluster 2 is more commercialized than Cluster 1, but characteristics remain in the vicinity of neighborhood commercial facilities. Cluster 3 describes a phase of full vitalization, characterized by franchise stores. The implications of this study are as follows. Commercial gentrification is proven to have distinctly different stages of commercial characterization that can be interpreted and observed sequentially, thereby requiring a differentiated approach to commercial gentrification by phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Assessing Social and Spatial Equity of Neighborhood Retail and Service Access in Seoul, South Korea
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8537; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208537 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Creating a sustainable urban space should allow everyone to benefit from urbanization regardless of their ability. Spatial equity is one of the significant factors of sustainability. Several studies have explored pedestrian accessibility and spatial equity, but few researchers have addressed daily retail activities. [...] Read more.
Creating a sustainable urban space should allow everyone to benefit from urbanization regardless of their ability. Spatial equity is one of the significant factors of sustainability. Several studies have explored pedestrian accessibility and spatial equity, but few researchers have addressed daily retail activities. This study aimed to examine the equity of pedestrian accessibility to neighborhood retail and service (NRS) establishments in Seoul, Korea. Accessibility of NRSs was measured by pedestrian direction API and spatially clustered by local indicators of spatial association (LISA). Equity was examined using the Mann–Whitney U test to test the difference between socioeconomic and built environment variables between high and low accessibility areas. We found that vulnerable groups favored access to the NRSs over more affluent groups. This study’s results suggest that urban planners and designers should contemplate ways to enhance the walkability of the residents and continually monitor accessibility to prevent urban problems, such as food deserts and retail deserts. Additionally, the results provide empirical evidence for achieving equity in urban development and urban retail systems to further enhance sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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Article
Proximity Trade and Urban Sustainability: Small Retailers’ Expectations Towards Local Online Marketplaces
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247199 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1672
Abstract
The aim of this research is to identify the expectations offered by small retail businesses towards local online selling platforms as an innovative tool to ensure their future and the urban sustainability. Based on the previous findings obtained from an analysis of trends, [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to identify the expectations offered by small retail businesses towards local online selling platforms as an innovative tool to ensure their future and the urban sustainability. Based on the previous findings obtained from an analysis of trends, actors and marketplaces operating in the retail sector, sixty semi-structured in-depth interviews have been carried out to Spanish local retail managers and owners. Opportunities and risks faced by local online marketplaces are presented from the perspective of small retail stores. Different attitudes towards online shopping platforms have been identified depending on their size, presence and experience in the online world, which has allowed us to categorize local retail businesses in six groups. Despite the perceptual and attitudinal differences between them, it is concluded that merchants have assumed that the current and future business model goes through the digitalization of their businesses and the selling on e-commerce platforms. The coexistence of the e-marketplace and the physical stores, conducted by the same retailers, could have a positive effect on the urban sustainability: on the one hand, with the economic strengthening and renovation of the historical centers and, on the other, with the maintenance of the population and traditional social relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
Article
Resilient Forms of Shopping Centers Amid the Rise of Online Retailing: Towards the Urban Experience
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 3999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11153999 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3740
Abstract
The rapid expansion of online retailing has long raised the concern that shops and shopping centers (evolved or planned agglomerations of shops) may be abandoned and thus lead to a depletion of urbanity. Contesting this scenario, I employ the concept of ‘retail resilience’ [...] Read more.
The rapid expansion of online retailing has long raised the concern that shops and shopping centers (evolved or planned agglomerations of shops) may be abandoned and thus lead to a depletion of urbanity. Contesting this scenario, I employ the concept of ‘retail resilience’ to explore the ways in which different material forms of shopping may persist as online retailing proliferates. Through interviews with planning and development professionals in Edmonton (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Portland (Oregon), and Wuhan (China); field/virtual observations in a wider range of cities; and a morphological analysis of key shopping centers, I find that brick-and-mortar retail space is not going away; rather, it is being increasingly developed into various shopping spaces geared toward the urban experience (a combination of density, mixed uses, and walkability) and may thus be adapted to online retailing. While not all emerging forms of shopping may persist, these diverse changes, experiments, and adaptations of shops and shopping centers can be considered a form of resilience. However, many emerging shopping centers pose a threat to urban public life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
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