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Cities and Retail: Sustainable Transformation of Retail in Urban Environments

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 (27 April 2023) | Viewed by 33828

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Lisbon University, 1600-276 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: urban geography; retailing; gentrification; urban resilience; retail planning policies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The geographies of retailing have for a long time been an established field of research within urban studies. Considering the intrinsic relation between cities and retail, in recent decades, studies have ranged their focus in a significant variety of axes. Among others, we can enhance: (i) the relevance of research on the entrepreneurial transformation of the sector, especially with the appearance of large national and international chains that quickly gain a market share; (ii) the importance of specific retail formats, such as shopping centers, their role in the creation/consolidation of new retail centralities, and impacts on town centers; (iii) the increasing relevance of ecommerce and the current debate about multichannel and omnichannel. 

In the new millennium, a significant set of studies have recognized the increased relevance of retail, which is mainly the result of the growing incorporation of retail in urban policies. The wide range of retail-led urban regeneration initiatives developed in several countries attested to this evolution, as well as their analysis in scientific literature. Moreover, the recent transformation of retail in several urban contexts has also been characterized by the way it is related to specific processes of retail gentrification supported by local urban policies. Retail gentrification is thus emerging as a novel field of research to explain the evolution of retail in some urban areas, such as the ones experiencing excessive tourism. Some retail formats, such as traditional retail markets, have been particularly vulnerable, which is culminating in the gentrification of several of them. The same occurs with the commercial fabric of main city centers most visited by tourists; their transformation is usually linked to gentrification issues and is often the result of public policies that triggered or fostered such an evolution.

We invite authors to submit research that focuses on the transformation of urban retail. This Special Issue is particularly framed on the dialectic retail change vs. urban policies, a subject in which contributions will be of great significance to the scientific literature. Supported by this conceptual framework, we invite studies on topics including, among others, retail change, new forms of governance of shopping districts, retail gentrification (city centers, traditional retail markets, and other retail formats), and retail in tourist cities.

Dr. Pedro Guimarães
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • retailing
  • urban retail
  • urban policies
  • retail change
  • gentrification
  • traditional retail markets

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 219 KiB  
Editorial
Cities and Retail: Sustainable Transformation of Retail in Urban Environments
by Pedro Guimarães
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 12743; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151712743 - 23 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6105
Abstract
Commerce functions are on the basis of urban agglomerations, often justifying the existence of several cities and villages of different sizes, which explains how cities evolve throughout history [...] Full article

Research

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17 pages, 45977 KiB  
Article
The Spatiotemporal Links between Urban and Rural Regions through the Sale and Consumption of Agri-Food Products
by Carlos Ribeiro, Cláudia M. Viana, Inês Girão, Elisabete Figueiredo and Jorge Rocha
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 12038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151512038 - 6 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1890
Abstract
The asymmetries between rural and urban areas have continued to increase over the last decades, contributing to an imbalance of economic, social, and territorial dimensions between regions. Urban stores specialized in the commercialization of rural provenance agri-food products can have a role in [...] Read more.
The asymmetries between rural and urban areas have continued to increase over the last decades, contributing to an imbalance of economic, social, and territorial dimensions between regions. Urban stores specialized in the commercialization of rural provenance agri-food products can have a role in the promotion of interrelations between the countryside and the cities and contribute to publicizing and promoting rural regions among the urban populations and tourists. Thus, this work aims to understand and characterize the growth of these stores in two of the main urban and tourist centers of Oporto and Lisbon. For this purpose, we developed an analytical framework with the support of a spatial analysis using geographic information systems (GIS) to understand their organization as well as the spatiotemporal evolution and distribution. We also investigated the geographical patterns of the supply chains of marketed agri-food products and the spatial relationships between agri-food products from their production to their commercialization and consumption. The results revealed that most of the agri-food products originate in the inland rural regions of the country with a clear geographical connection between the analyzed stores and specific territories. Moreover, we verify an increased interest and consumption of agri-food products and a spontaneous increase in this type of store. Overall, these stores, in addition to selling agri-food products, are also promoters of rural territories in an urban environment. Full article
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15 pages, 2260 KiB  
Article
Understanding Private Preferences in Urban Development—Analysing Spatial Patterns of Food Discount Stores Locations in Switzerland
by Andreas Heinrich Hengstermann and Mathias Jehling
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6015; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076015 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
This paper examines the spatial pattern of food discount stores in Switzerland, where private actors made location decisions without interference from planning regulations until 2016. Using aerial images and a classification scheme with functional and morphological attributes, the study shows that the majority [...] Read more.
This paper examines the spatial pattern of food discount stores in Switzerland, where private actors made location decisions without interference from planning regulations until 2016. Using aerial images and a classification scheme with functional and morphological attributes, the study shows that the majority of discount stores were built in peripheral commercial areas or greenfield sites as solitary buildings, indicating a preference for minimal land acquisition costs and car orientation. Some integrated central locations were also chosen. The average density measured by floor area ratio was low. The results suggest that without planning intervention, private actors’ decisions would lead to sprawled settlement patterns with high ecological and societal costs. Further research is needed to explore the potential role of planning in mitigating this effect. Full article
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25 pages, 8858 KiB  
Article
Resilient Inner Cities: Conditions and Examples for the Transformation of Former Department Stores in Germany
by Nina Hangebruch and Frank Othengrafen
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148303 - 7 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3284
Abstract
Digitalisation is leading to fundamental changes in the German retail sector and the city centres as places of trade. Traditional forms of business such as department stores have significantly reduced their branch networks. Their conversion poses major questions not only for the property [...] Read more.
Digitalisation is leading to fundamental changes in the German retail sector and the city centres as places of trade. Traditional forms of business such as department stores have significantly reduced their branch networks. Their conversion poses major questions not only for the property owners but also for the municipalities concerned. As key properties, the buildings are of particular relevance for the reorientation of the inner-city use structure. In view of the reduced importance of retail in inner cities, it is discussed how the transformation of these properties can increase the resilience of city centres. Therefore, we conducted a systematic literature analysis on urban and retail resilience and derived ten dimensions for resilient city centres. We applied the ten dimensions and related criteria in the analysis of five selected case studies in Germany and assessed that new, innovative and flexible re-uses could be realised in the former department stores, increasing the multifunctionality and robustness of the city centres. The conversion of the buildings is not only sustainable from the perspective of climate and resource efficiency, but also contributes to the preservation of the local building culture and the identification of the citizens with the inner city. Full article
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21 pages, 5877 KiB  
Article
Tourism and Authenticity: Analyzing Retail Change in Lisbon City Center
by Pedro Guimarães
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 8111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138111 - 2 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
Retail is one of the defining elements of urban spaces. The study of commerce is largely based on its evolution and how it relates with urban environments. Currently, with the advent of mass tourism, there has been an adjustment in the commercial fabric [...] Read more.
Retail is one of the defining elements of urban spaces. The study of commerce is largely based on its evolution and how it relates with urban environments. Currently, with the advent of mass tourism, there has been an adjustment in the commercial fabric of the area’s most sought after by tourists. Among these latter areas, the historical centers of commerce stand out. The first objective of this research is to analyze the modern evolution of the commercial fabric of Lisbon by comparing the city center with the rest of the city. For this goal, I use a quantitative approach through the quotient location for specific retail typologies. The results show dissimilarities that are associated with the geographical location of retail, which vary according to the different retail typologies being analyzed. The second goal is based on the assumption that the mere analysis of the evolution of the retail typologies is limited in the context of tourist cities. Considering this matter, a qualitative method (photo analysis, conceptually supported by the concept of authenticity) is used. The results show the usefulness of the concept of authenticity to apprehend and discuss how retail is reacting to the tourism industry, thereby contributing to the transformation of the city center into a leisure and entertainment destination. Full article
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24 pages, 7145 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution and Land Development Parameters of Shopping Centers Based on GIS Analysis: A Case Study on Kraków, Poland
by Rafał Blazy and Rita Łabuz
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7539; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137539 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2375
Abstract
The progressive development of shopping centers in the world affects the urban structure of cities. These facilities are constantly evolving, which also entails changes in the way their vicinity is shaped. In this context, this article deals with the trend in the way [...] Read more.
The progressive development of shopping centers in the world affects the urban structure of cities. These facilities are constantly evolving, which also entails changes in the way their vicinity is shaped. In this context, this article deals with the trend in the way of locating and developing shopping center areas, showing the changes taking place over the years. The subject of investigations are the areas of Kraków’s shopping centers—their spatial distribution and the way the land is developed. The aim of the research was to characterize and assess the spatial development of the analyzed shopping centers, to determine the trends in the location and characteristic urban indicators. This made it possible to verify whether possible changes in the way new investments of this type are shaped should be sought in order to improve the quality of the urban environment. To assess the spatial distribution of shopping centers, standard deviation ellipse analysis was used, as well as the nearest neighbor method. In order to determine the parameters of development of shopping centers, basic urban indicators were used, i.e., building plot ratio (BPR), floor area ratio (FAR), and green plot ratio (GPR). Spatial analysis was performed using QGIS software. Studies have shown that brownfield investments are scattered along the north–south axis of the city, while greenfield investments are located at a greater distance from its central area. Over the years, there has been a gradual concentration of shopping centers, but they are still characterized by dispersion. The results of analyses of changes in the land development of their areas indicate that over the years there has been an imperceptible trend of creating objects occupying an increasing part of the investment plot. In turn, the share of total leaf area of greenery is slightly reduced. With the increase in distance from the city center, indicators regarding the floor area and gross floor area of shopping centers are clearly decreasing. On the other hand, the share of greenery increases mildly, although this index remains at a level not exceeding 20%. These results indicate the need to take action to enforce a greater share of greenery within the areas of shopping centers and the need to care for the quality of their surroundings in order to ensure sustainable spatial development of the city. Full article
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14 pages, 1152 KiB  
Article
Social Dimension of Shopping Centers Operation: Managerial Perspectives
by Josef Kunc, František Križan, Markéta Novotná and Kristína Bilková
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020709 - 9 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3408
Abstract
Shopping centers do not operate in a vacuum but in a society of diverse stakeholders who influence their profit and growth. Therefore, shopping centers management addresses the problem of incorporating social dimensions in their management. The paper aims to identify and evaluate managerial [...] Read more.
Shopping centers do not operate in a vacuum but in a society of diverse stakeholders who influence their profit and growth. Therefore, shopping centers management addresses the problem of incorporating social dimensions in their management. The paper aims to identify and evaluate managerial approaches and marketing strategies of shopping centers in the Czech Republic in the context of social dimensions leading to sustainable operation. The research builds methodologically on an online questionnaire survey with top management of shopping centers. It took place at the turn of the years 2019/2020. Out of 88 Czech existing shopping centers, 30 completed responses were received (response rate 34%). The managerial approaches and marketing activities of shopping centers aimed at customers, internal employees, and tenants of the shopping centers were assessed. In addition to profit, the main social aspect on which the management of shopping centers places an emphasis is also loyalty. A properly set working environment and working conditions are essential to achieve higher employee productivity and consequently higher profits. The shopping centers should increase their social roles to preserve the well-being of their employees and enhance customer satisfaction. Full article
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19 pages, 3477 KiB  
Article
Transformation and Sustainable Development of Shopping Centers: Case of Czech and Slovak Cities
by František Križan, Josef Kunc, Kristína Bilková and Markéta Novotná
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010062 - 22 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5105
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to critically evaluate the similarities and differences in the development of the temporal and spatial structure of shopping centers in the Czech and Slovak republics. We focused on the retail transformation and sustainable manifestations of the location [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to critically evaluate the similarities and differences in the development of the temporal and spatial structure of shopping centers in the Czech and Slovak republics. We focused on the retail transformation and sustainable manifestations of the location and construction of shopping centers. We classified shopping centers according to their genesis, location in the city, and size of the gross leasable area. To analyze migration trends and geographic distribution characteristics of shopping centers in the capital cities of both countries (local level of analysis), we used spatial gravity and standard deviational ellipse. Generally, there is an analogous trend in the development of shopping centers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with a particular two- to four-year lag in Slovakia (west–east gradient). Despite this, we still perceive the demand for shopping centers in both countries as above average, and it is not declining. The construction of shopping centers, mainly in small towns, also indicates this trend. In Prague and Bratislava, the pattern of spatial expansion of shopping centers differs. Prague probably represents a more advanced phase of shopping center agglomeration. However, neither country has reached the state of clustering. Full article
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16 pages, 2370 KiB  
Article
The Reconfiguration of Urban Public–Private Spaces in the Mall: False Security, Antidemocratization, and Apoliticalization
by Luis Alfonso Escudero Gómez
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12447; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212447 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3281
Abstract
In cities across the world, public spaces are being reconfigured, and their functions are being appropriated by private areas, such as shopping malls. The aim of the present article was to analyze this problem and, more specifically, to study shopping centers as secure [...] Read more.
In cities across the world, public spaces are being reconfigured, and their functions are being appropriated by private areas, such as shopping malls. The aim of the present article was to analyze this problem and, more specifically, to study shopping centers as secure spaces in cities, as well as the antidemocratic and apolitical nature of such malls. The study takes a positivist approach, beginning with the existing theoretical framework and using data from case studies to generate findings. The theoretical framework is established through a review of the literature, while the case study data are drawn from an analysis of news content from digital media and from autoethnography. The findings suggest malls are perceived as safe spaces, also in addition to being home to minor offenses, as well as a number of tragic events and crimes. Additionally, a growing number of demonstrations and political acts are being staged inside malls, which are seen as symbols of consumption and the neoliberal capitalist system. The owners and managers of shopping centers condone and permit the least conflictive acts and ban and repress the remainder, on occasions with the support of state security forces. The relocation of civic life to malls reduces the use of public spaces and erodes the value of the public sphere. The article ends by proposing public actions to reverse this process. Full article
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Review

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28 pages, 1480 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Study on a Customer’s Next-Items Recommendation Techniques
by Qazi Mudassar Ilyas, Abid Mehmood, Ashfaq Ahmad and Muneer Ahmad
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7175; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127175 - 11 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2159
Abstract
A customer’s next-items recommender system (NIRS) can be used to predict the purchase list of a customer in the next visit. The recommendations made by these systems support businesses by increasing their revenue and providing a more personalized shopping experience to customers. The [...] Read more.
A customer’s next-items recommender system (NIRS) can be used to predict the purchase list of a customer in the next visit. The recommendations made by these systems support businesses by increasing their revenue and providing a more personalized shopping experience to customers. The main objective of this paper is to provide a systematic literature review of the domain to analyze the recent techniques and assist future research. The paper examined 90 selected studies to answer the research questions concerning the key aspects of NIRSs. To this end, the main contribution of the paper is that it provides detailed insight into the use of conventional and deep learning techniques, the popular datasets, and specialized metrics for developing and evaluating these systems. The study reveals that conventional machine learning techniques have been quite popular for developing NIRSs in the past. However, more recent works have mainly focused on deep learning techniques due to their enhanced ability to learn sequential and temporal information. Some of the challenges in developing NIRSs that need further investigation are related to cold start, data sparsity, and cross-domain recommendations. Full article
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