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Exploring urban retailing and CBD revitalization strategies


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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory examination of urban retail marketing and management strategies employed in six US cities with reputations for having central business districts (CBD) that are either flourishing or developing. It also investigates the roles played by urban retailers in working with CBD revitalization efforts. Design/methodology/approach Depth interviews were conducted with economic development managers and urban retailer owners/managers from each CBD. Content analysis, preceded by a comprehensive review of academic and trade literature, was used to identify key concepts. An iterative coding process resulted in identifying broad strategic themes and related strategies. Findings Strategies were classified into three urban retailing and five economic revitalization themes. These strategies varied depending on whether cities had flourishing or developing CBDs. Research limitations/implications The study provided a systematic and comprehensive examination of strategies that may guide theory development and provide practical information on CBD redevelopment. Potential bias in results should be considered when evaluating results due to the use of qualitative methods and convenience sampling. Originality/value Information concerning similarities in the redevelopment efforts of six comparable US cities is provided.
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Exploring urban retailing and
CBD revitalization strategies
Charlette Padilla
Department of Business/Marketing, Pima Community College,
Tucson, Arizona, USA, and
Mary Ann Eastlick
Division of Retailing and Consumer Sciences, The University of Arizona,
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory examination of urban retail
marketing and management strategies employed in six US cities with reputations for having central
business districts (CBD) that are either flourishing or developing. It also investigates the roles played
by urban retailers in working with CBD revitalization efforts.
Design/methodology/approach Depth interviews were conducted with economic development
managers and urban retailer owners/managers from each CBD. Content analysis, preceded by a
comprehensive review of academic and trade literature, was used to identify key concepts. An iterative
coding process resulted in identifying broad strategic themes and related strategies.
Findings Strategies were classified into three urban retailing and five economic revitalization
themes. These strategies varied depending on whether cities had flourishing or developing CBDs.
Research limitations/implications The study provided a systematic and comprehensive
examination of strategies that may guide theory development and provide practical information on
CBD redevelopment. Potential bias in results should be considered when evaluating results due to the
use of qualitative methods and convenience sampling.
Originality/value Information concerning similarities in the redevelopment efforts of six
comparable US cities is provided.
Keywords United States of America, Urban areas, Commercial centres, Retail marketing,
Redevelopment, Regeneration
Paper type Research paper
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, downtowns or central
business districts (CBDs) housed the retail and services core of US cities. Thus, urban
retailing was integral to a city’s economic and social climate (Hernandez and Jones,
2005). However, following the Second World War, the economic and social stability
of CBDs began to decline, and many retailers abandoned their downtown locations
for the suburbs. Starting in the 1960s, a few downtown revitalization projects that
incorporated urban retailing were initiated to attract shoppers back to the CBD but
have produced mixed results in stimulating urban retail development, consumer
traffic, and sales (Robertson, 1997; West and Orr, 2003). In many other revitalization
projects, urban retail development has been ignored (Warnaby et al., 2004).
Academic and practitioner experts advocate that urban retail development
encourages consumers to patronize a CBD’s recreational, social, and business activities
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Exploring urban
Received 15 April 2008
Revised 12 August 2008
Accepted 27 August 2008
International Journal of Retail &
Distribution Management
Vol. 37 No. 1, 2009
pp. 7-23
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/09590550910927135
thereby providing added support for both its economy and social well-being
(Robertson, 1997; Warnaby et al., 2004). While there is considerable research on
rejuvenation of downtown areas (e.g. public buildings, neighborhoods, and business
improvement districts), much research consists of descriptive information from case
studies of individual cities. Systematic information on integrating successful urban
retail development with CBD redevelopment is very limited (Lopilato, 2003). Moreover,
since the mid-1980s, academic research on urban retailing has been limited (Robertson,
1997; Warnaby et al. , 2002; Whyte, 1988).
Considering both the paucity of research and potential economic and social benefits
to be gained from incorporating urban retailing within broader CBD revitalization
efforts, this research provides an exploratory examination of urban retailing and CBD
redevelopment strategies employed by six Western US CBDs. One study objective was
to explore each CBD’s urban retail marketing and management strategies. A second
objective was to examine the role played by urban retailers in assisting stakeholders to
plan and/or implement other revitalization strategies comprising each CBD’s broader
economic redevelopment efforts. Underlying both objectives was a goal to examine
which strategies were associated with positive outcomes for both CBDs and urban
Urban retail development
Historical overview
The growth of CBDs and downtown retailing in the USA in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries was aided by business development and mass transportation
systems that brought both workers and residents to downtown. However, during the
post World War II era, populations shifted to the suburbs, automotive transportation
became widely available, and the first suburban shopping centers were developed.
Thus, there was a strong economic incentive for retailers offering diverse goods to
abandon their downtown locations and to agglomerate in central locations such as
suburban shopping centers and malls (Craig et al., 1984; Ghosh, 1986; Thill, 1986, 1992),
and CBDs. Concurrently, downtown retailing began to experience substantial decline
throughout the USA (Robertson, 1997).
Suburban shopping areas operated very differently from urban shopping areas. They
consisted of programmed, self-contained environments (Houston and Nevin, 1980) that
looked and functioned very similarly (Frisch, 2003; Robertson, 1997) and whose primary
purpose was to influence consumers to spend money (Gratz and Mintz, 1998).
Characteristics of urban retailing
One reason often cited for lackluster results of urban retail development projects is that
their management and marketing strategies often replicate those used in suburban
shopping centers (Robertson, 1997; Satterthwaite, 2001). Therefore, when evaluating
and/or developing urban retailing strategies, it may be instructive to consider key
ways in which urban and suburban retailing differ. Urban retailing often consists of
conglomerations of individually-owned stores (Houston and Nevin, 1980). Though,
several CBDs have recently been successful at attracting the large chain retailers to
their mix (West and Orr, 2003). Also, since CBDs are regarded as business (Whyte,
1988), social, and cultural centers (Karp et al., 1991; Moss, 1997), urban retailers may
play civic as well as economic roles in the CBDs in which they operate.
According to Satterthwaite (2001), for urban retailing to be successful, there must be
interaction between the commercial and social activities found in a CBD. Consequently,
the potential success of urban retailing redevelopment efforts may be dependent on
their integration with other successful CBD revitalization efforts. Whether a CBD can
become a mixed-use center may also impact the success of urban retailing. Thus, there
is need to identify combinations of revitalization strategies that, when employed in a
CBD redevelopment project, could have strong potential to attract diverse peoples
(e.g. residents, workers, tourists, consumers, etc.). Yet, little is known to enhance our
understanding of the synergies among CBD revitalization strategies, including urban
retailing strategies.
CBD revitalization and urban retail marketing strategies
Three independent categories of revitalization strategies have been suggested as potential
contributors to successful CBD revitalization efforts. They include creating a desirable
infrastructure, a strategy that encompasses the development of a pedestrian-friendly
environment (Filion et al., 2004; Fondersmith, 1988; Robertson, 1997), creation of a plaza
designed to incorporate walkways and open greenspace (Kohsaka, 1984), and enacting
government-sponsored economic development policies (e.g. business improvement areas,
taxes, strategic alliances, etc.) that promote business activity (Moss, 1997; Satterthwaite,
2001; West and Orr, 2003). Other proposed categories of desirable revitalization strategies
include offering cultural activities designed to attract consumers to downtown areas and
maintaining a CBDs historic character (Filion et al., 2004).
In addition to general revitalization strategies associated with CBD redevelopment
efforts, two specific recommendations for urban retail development have been
suggested. One strategy is to present and promote the downtown shopping area as an
integrated unit (Houston and Nevin, 1980) via its market position, accessibility, and
range of benefits offered by downtown businesses. Another strategy is to synchronize
management and marketing efforts to create a perception that CBD retailers have
complementary images and act as an interconnected system of business entities
(Brodeur, 2003).
Research questions
Descriptive information on CBD and urban retailing redevelopment efforts suggests
that varied revitalization strategies have been applied to projects. In addition, the role
played by urban retailers in the overall CBD redevelopment effort is not well
understood. These factors were considering in the following research questions
examined by this exploratory study:
RQ1. Are there common retail management and marketing strategies that enhance
urban retail development in CBDs?
RQ2. What is the role played by urban retailers in working with other stakeholders
to plan and execute the broad-based economic revitalization strategies that
enhance CBD redevelopment?
Data were collected via depth interviews with 18 economic development leaders
and 23 retail business owners and/or managers from CBDs in six western US cities.
Exploring urban
The study was limited to medium-sized western cities (i.e. populations approximately
500,000) to control for similarities in economic, social, and transportation
infrastructures. All six cities had experienced declines in their CBDs during the
post-World War II era involving loss of downtown goods and services retailers
including some anchor stores. In addition, all cities had made varied efforts including
the creation of business improvement areas to revitalize their CBDs. The cities included
in the study were Albuquerque, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas,
Fresno, California, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Portland, Oregon. A map showing
locations of each city is shown in Figure 1.
Selection of cities
It was deemed necessary to study strategies used by cities that had experienced a
range of successes due to their revitalization efforts. Therefore, cities with CBDs with
reputations for having either a positive or negative socioeconomic image over the
previous ten-year period were selected. A CBD was considered as having a reputation
for a positive socioeconomic image when it was widely regarded as having
successfully undergone redevelopment, was currently experiencing or had recently
experienced growth in downtown retail and services businesses, was surrounded by
renovated, middle-to-upper-class neighborhoods, and had experienced low turnover
among the majority of goods and services retailers located in the CBD (i.e. retailers had
been in business in the CBD for five years or longer). On the other hand, a CBD was
considered as having a reputation for a negative socioeconomic image when,
independent of any redevelopment efforts undertaken in the CBD, it was widely
regarded as not experiencing growth in new downtown retail and services businesses,
was surrounded by low-income, substandard neighborhoods, and had experienced
Figure 1.
Map of USA showing city
El Paso
Fort Worth
Oklahoma City
high-turnover rates among retailers in the CBD (i.e. 80-90 per cent of retail businesses
had been in business in the downtown area for fewer than five years). For the purposes
of this study, these cities were labeled as having CBDs with either a flourishing
(reputation for positive socioeconomic image) or developing (reputation for negative
socioeconomic image) reputation.
A three-step process using both objective and subjective data were employed to
identify the CBDs with flourishing and developing reputations. First, Sperling’s Best
Places (http//:, a database containing city population and lifestyle data
were employed to identify groups of western US cities that were comparable in population
size, household income, property crime rate, and commute time. City populations ranged
from 486,296 (Albuquerque) to 650, 864 (Portland). Average household incomes of city
residents ranged from $31,390 (El Paso) to $37,684 (Fresno), and the property crime rates
ranged from5,105.9/100,000 population (El Paso) to 8,460.2/100,000 population (Oklahoma
City). The average commute time to each CBD was 20 minutes.
Next, secondary data on census tract characteristics (obtained from US Census
Bureau and trade literature) were consulted to judge the overall socioeconomic image
of each city’s CBD and their immediate, surrounding neighborhoods. Finally, the
secondary data were confirmed via individual consultations with leaders from each
city (i.e. municipal government leaders, economic development managers, retailer
managers/owners) and experts in US city planning issues. Using these criteria, three
cities each were identified as having CBDs with reputations for being either flourishing
or developing. Cities categorized as having flourishing CBDs included Fort Worth,
Oklahoma City, and Portland. Albuquerque, El Paso, and Fresno were classified as
having developing CBDs.
Data collection procedures
Totally 18 depth interviews (three from each city) were conducted with economic
development managers (e.g. Chamber of Commerce, economic planning, downtown
alliance, etc.). A pre-contact letter was mailed to each manager asking for his/her
participation in the study and offering a white paper of the study’s results as an incentive.
Approximately, one week later, each manager was contacted via phone to confirm his/her
willingness to participate. A follow-up e-mail was then sent to each interviewee containing
general information on the purpose of the study and a set of preliminary questions.
Retailers included in the interviews were identified by asking economic
development managers to name retailers that had been in business in their
respective CBDs for five or more years. In addition, each city’s web site and online
yellow pages were consulted to identify downtown retailers. The same procedure used
for contacting and interviewing economic development managers was employed with
the retailers resulting in a total of 23 interviews with a downtown store owner or
manager. Two to eight retail managers/owners from each CBD were interviewed.
In-depth interviews, lasting from 30 to 60 minutes each, were conducted following
procedures recommended by Erlandson et al. (1993). Interviewees responded to
open-ended questions about successful and failing economic revitalization and urban
retail strategies employed in a CBD. Follow-up questions were used to probe for greater
details. Information provided in interviews was substantiated using secondary data
from city web sites, periodicals, and literature from Chambers of Commerce and
economic and community developers.
Exploring urban
Data analysis
Content analysis was used to identify urban retailing and general economic
revitalization strategies. Following transcription of interviews by a professional
transcriber, data analysis followed seven steps, the details of which are summarized in
Table I. Line-by-line coding was first used to identify unique concepts from each
interview. Concepts were then sorted and summarized into subsets of subsequently
broader categories of strategies followed by even broader dimensions and themes
subsuming each category. This iterative process was completed by independent groups
of trained coders and judges. Differences among category assignments by coders and
dimension assignments by judges were resolved via researcher-led meetings.
Three urban retailing management and marketing strategy themes and five economic
development strategy themes were identified. These themes, the specific strategy
dimensions subsumed by each, the number of comments coded by dimension and/or theme,
and the percentage of matching assignments are shown in Table II. Inter-rater reliability for
assignments was approximately 96 per cent for dimensions of retailer management and
marketing strategies and 87.3 per cent for dimensions of economic revitalization strategies.
Steps Analytic process Performed by Outcome
1 Line-by-line coding to
identify dominant concepts
Researcher 153 unique concepts from
retailer interviews; 166 from
economic development
2 Sort dominant concepts into
broader categories of
related concepts
Three trained coders each
for interviews with
economic development
managers and retail
Totally 91 categories of
related concepts
3 Discuss category
assignments from Step 2 to
resolve differences
Trained coders and
4 Identify broader dimensions
of related categories from
Step 3
Researcher Five dimensions of retail
management and marketing
strategies; 15 dimensions of
economic development
5 Assign concepts to each
broad dimension identified
in Step 4 and discuss
assignment differences
Two trained judges with
6 Calculate inter-rater
reliability for final
dimension assignments
Researcher About 96 and 87.3 per cent
inter-rater reliability for
retailer and economic
development dimensions,
7 Identify broad strategy
themes encompassing
dimensions from Step 6
Researcher Three retailer themes; five
economic development
Table I.
Data analysis procedures
Research question 1
The first research question asked whether common retail management and marketing
strategies were used for urban retailing. Three broad urban retailer management and
marketing strategy themes, whose use consistently varied between flourishing and
developing CBDs, were revealed. The themes included:
(1) creating an urban shopping experience via the retail mix;
(2) developing strategic partnerships for managing urban retail operations; and
(3) pursuing both coordinated and individual retail marketing strategies.
In contrast to developing CBDs, flourishing CBDs placed emphasis on creating a
diverse and unique urban shopping experience with a broad retail mix including both
large, well-known and small, privately-owned retailers. In addition to using
individualized marketing efforts, retailers also coordinated urban retail management
and marketing efforts via strategic partnerships among downtown retailers and other
stakeholders. Details related to each retail management and marketing theme follow.
Theme 1: creating an urban shopping experience via the retail mix
Retailers and economic development managers described every CBD as having its own
personality. A total of 20 comments that pertained to the urban retail mix and the
Assigned comments
Themes and associated dimensions Judge 1 Judge 2
(per cent)
Retail strategy themes
1. Creating an urban shopping experience via the retail mix 20 20 95.0
2. Developing strategic partnerships to manage urban retail operations
Responding to environmental changes 5 6 90.9
Coordinating retail management strategies 55 54 96.3
3. Pursuing coordinated and individual marketing strategies 17 19 94.4
Economic development strategy themes
1. Creating an urban design plan
Planning for walking environment and spaces 21 24 96.8
Planning for space and building renovations 26 26 80.8
2. Emphasizing cultural activities and events to attract consumers and
Creating a mixed-use environment 15 15 100.0
Offering special events to attract consumers downtown 18 14 81.3
Stimulating new business growth in the downtown 10 9 84.3
Addressing space availability issues 15 16 96.8
3. Creating shared ownership of the CBD via community management
Managing CBD via private and public partnerships 22 20 92.9
Fostering civic pride and ownership of the CBD 11 12 87.0
4. Creating attractive neighborhoods for urban residents
Attracting affluent residents 8 7 80.0
Improving housing availability to attract diverse residents 23 27 90.0
5. Managing auto and pedestrian traffic flow
Creating available and accessible parking 13 12 88.0
Managing traffic flow for pedestrians and vehicles 9 9 88.9
Establishing connectivity among CBD districts 8 7 93.3
Table II.
Frequency of assigned
comments by strategy
themes and dimensions
Exploring urban
downtown shopping experience were coded. Provision of a special urban shopping
experience that complemented the unique character of a CBD was both a major
challenge and an important goal for all six CBDs.
Flourishing CBDs had large, well-known retailers that served as anchors to attract
shoppers. In addition, their retail mix was characterized as consisting of the “right”
balance between large, anchor and small, privately-owned stores. Together, these
retailers played different roles to create a shopping experience that attracted
consumers downtown while complementing the CBDs unique character. The following
quote from an economic development manager is representative of the different roles
played by anchor and small stores:
[There needs to be a] juxtaposition [between] having well-known stores to attract consumers
downtown [and] maintaining an ability to retain the downtown identity for all retailers. The
downtown is different from the mall convenience. Shopping downtown is an experience, and
shoppers [who come downtown] have an experience in mind. The downtown shopper wants
something special and different [that] the mall cannot give retailers that have something
In sharp contrast, interviewees from developing CBDs reported that their CBDs were
unable to attract large, well-known anchor stores and provide a mix of large, anchor
and small, specialty retailers to offer a unique urban shopping experience and draw
diverse groups of consumers. Consequently, the retail mix was restricted to small
retailers that targeted downtown residents or workers.
Theme 2: developing strategic partnerships to manage urban retail operations
Two broad dimensions reflecting the presence (or absence) of management efforts by
retailer and/or city government to support downtown retailing comprised this theme.
These dimensions described retailers’ efforts to respond to changes proposed for the
CBD and to create coordinated and integrated retail management strategies. Of all the
retail management and marketing strategies, this theme (cited 60 times) was mentioned
most by interviewees.
Responding to environmental change. In flourishing CBDs, retailers played an active
role, along with other stakeholders, in responding to and embracing changes proposed
to strengthen each CBD’s respective social and/or economic environment. Interviewees
felt that retailers’ voice in this process served to encourage new retail development. In
contrast, interviewees from developing CBDs reported that retailers resisted proposals
from other CBD stakeholders aimed at improvements to economic (including retail
trade) and/or social environments. For example, an interviewee stated that retailers
from one CBD had resisted proposed improvements to downtown housing aimed at
attracting more upscale residents to the CBD. These retailers contended that they were
already experiencing success by targeting low-income consumers. They reasoned that
having more upscale residents who would shop downtown would unnecessarily
change the dynamics and levels of downtown retail trade.
Coordinating retail management strategies
Flourishing CBDs described themselves as actively managed groups that effectively
promoted urban retailing in conjunction with other downtown activities. Urban
retailers belonged to councils/alliances whose membership comprised all CBD
stakeholders. The councils/alliances provided centralized management who was
knowledgeable about each CBD and its retailers. Some retailers also supplemented
coordinated activities with independent ones. They spoke of “grass roots” efforts such
as extending hours during more active shopping seasons and alerting each other about
shoplifters. The following quote from a flourishing CBD retailer describes their
coordinated approach:
There is quite a bit of us that sit on the council, the downtown retail council, and we all work
in unison, with big anchor stores and the art museum, trying to get people into the downtown
area. We do come up with one main holiday strategy [in which] we all get together and take
part. We all keep abreast of each other’s strategies.
In contrast, retailers in developingCBDs participated in disparate efforts to coordinate and
promote retailing. There was little evidence of strong, team-oriented cooperation among
CBD retailers and other stakeholders. Instead both groups criticized the other’s leadership
and management efforts. For example, several economic development managers spoke of
poor retail leadership and management within their CBD. Two CBDs had
government-sponsored retailer alliances. But retailers did not support alliance efforts
and, therefore, did not participate in coordinated retailer management strategies (e.g.
promotions, hours of operation, etc.). Some retailers expressed that alliances used poor
judgment, and that there was no need for centralized coordination of activities. One CBD
did not have government support for its urban retail efforts. Therefore, out of desperation,
retailers banded together and started their own coordinated management teams.
Theme 3: pursuing both coordinated and individual marketing strategies
Urban retail marketing strategies employed across developing versus flourishing
CBDs were also very different. In flourishing CBDs, marketing strategies targeted
consumers who were from diverse income and ethnic groups. Each retailer retained its
separate identity by targeting specific consumer groups via different types of goods at
varied price points and executing separate promotions (e.g. direct mail campaigns,
designer showings). Simultaneously, they promoted cross-shopping among retailers
and other consumer service providers by marketing themselves as a group via
advertisements and coordinated store-front window themes. They also adopted
identical business hours. Working, as a group, to promote downtown retailing enabled
these firms to reduce advertising costs and project a unified retail image.
Conversely, marketing strategies employed in developing CBDs were designed to
target consumers seeking low-end goods and specific ethnic groups via promotional
pricing and sidewalk sales. Therefore, it was difficult to attract businesses that
targeted other consumers and to interest property owners in revitalizing downtown
real estate to target more diverse consumer groups.
Research question 2
The second research question explored the role played by urban retailers in assisting to
plan and implement other broad-based CBD economic revitalization strategies. To
examine this research question, it was necessary to identify common strategies
employed in CBD economic revitalization efforts. Results revealed five broad themes
(1) creating an urban design plan;
(2) emphasizing cultural activities and events to attract consumers and businesses;
Exploring urban
(3) creating shared ownership via collective management;
(4) creating attractive neighborhoods for urban residents; and
(5) managing auto and pedestrian traffic flow.
In flourishing CBDs, urban retailing was incorporated into the CBDs design plan, and
its presence in the CBD played an integral role in attracting consumers to the CBD. In
other words, urban retailing formed an integral part of a “mixed-use” environment that
attracted diverse consumers to the CBD. Urban retailers also made up an important
leadership constituency.
Theme 1: creating an urban design plan
Making provisions for a design plan was a prevalent theme associated with CBD
redevelopment, receiving a minimum of 47 mentions. This theme encompassed plans
for the walking environment, space and building renovations, and historic
preservation projects. Most valued were plans for the walking environment.
Flourishing CBDs had landscaped walkways and/or plazas and way faring systems
to assist pedestrians in navigating the downtown. The following quote describes the
benefits of a good walking environment:
When people throughout [city name] think of downtown, a very clear and positive image comes
into their heads about walking in the dense entertainment core (dinner, movie, or dinner and
something) in a safe, cocoon-like, walkable environment that is embraced by buildings.
In addition, flourishing CBDs had broad-based design plans for renovation projects.
Architectural committees developed standards to guide how the historic appearance
and buildings should be retained and evaluated design plans.
In contrast, economic development managers from developing CBDs did not
describe strongly organized efforts for creating walkable and aesthetically-appearing
environments. For example, one economic development manager commented that the
only infrastructure needed to create a walking area in a CBD was a sidewalk. In
addition, revitalization efforts were frequently described as opportunistic projects that
were not integrated with adjacent redevelopment projects or buildings.
Theme 2: emphasizing cultural activities and events to attract consumers and businesses
Mentioned at least 54 times, this prevalent economic development theme was
characterized by four strategies focused on making a CBD an attractive destination for
both consumers and businesses. These included creating a mixed-use environment
that combined retailing with entertainment and cultural attractions, offering special
events to attract consumers downtown, stimulating new business growth, and
addressing space availability issues.
Creating a mixed-use environment. Flourishing CBDs offered restaurants, shops,
galleries, theaters, art museums, and/or special event venues that provided consumers
opportunities to combine shopping with entertainment and cultural activities.
Flourishing CBDs were described as “cultural and entertainment focal points” of their
respective cities. The success of one mixed-use environment is found in this quote:
People come downtown. They like that downtown is clean. They like the fact that it [is] so
safe with [a] good retail mix, a culture, and an aesthetic of being downtown. I have not ever
heard anyone say, why are there cleaners downtown? Why are we spending money on this?
I think it is necessary. Because, when you have a downtown, you are going to have low
income housing and services and, you know, mixed with Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton.
Such a mix [is] what makes downtown a great place. And when you have all those
populations coming together, that is what you are going to need.
Offering special events to attract consumers downtown. All CBDs offered special events
that attracted people downtown. Yet, there was consensus among business owners that
events were not always useful in encouraging consumers to patronize downtown
businesses. Business owners often stated that patrons of special events took parking
spaces away from regular clientele. However, flourishing CBDs differentiated
themselves from developing CBDs by sponsoring and marketing some events
specifically designed to encourage consumers to shop urban retailers. One is illustrated
in this statement:
During holiday time, we have “win a window” that the city manages. Basically shoppers
come down and look at window displays and vote for their favorite one. This year we have
the most participants we ever had. They really get into it and decorate their windows, and all
the shoppers get into it too. We actually have a lot of people who go to every store and vote.
Stimulating new business growth in the downtown. All flourishing CBDs used funding
vehicles such as grants, private funding, and/or taxes to create business improvement
areas and neighborhoods that also encouraged development of new and diverse retail and
services venues for consumers. For example, oneflourishing CBD had created a residential
environment within the downtown that targeted several thousand consumers with above
average disposable household incomes. Therefore, new retail development within the area
grew to include varied goods and services retailers that targeted downtown residents from
diverse economic groups by offering both convenience (e.g. dry cleaners, grocery stores,
drug stores) and specialty shopping (e.g. boutique bookstores) goods.
Addressing space availability issues. Space availability issues, which limited the
ability of a CBD to attract new business, were characterized differently by interviewees
from flourishing and developing CBDs. Boundaries that defined each downtown were
finite. Yet, retailers and other businesses in flourishing CBDs were concerned that there
was not enough available space. In contrast, interviewees from developing CBDs
reported that available space for retail expansion was not suitable due to its
surroundings (e.g. low-income neighborhoods, low-price retailers).
Theme 3: creating shared ownership via collective management
Leadership styles of CBD officials (minimum of 32 mentions) differentiated flourishing
from developing CBDs. One leadership style dimension was creating shared public and
private responsibility for developing and managing a downtown’s infrastructure. In
flourishing CBDs, private and public sectors worked collectively to create and manage
a CBDs infrastructure. One flourishing CBD economic development manager described
a “triangle of community, property owners, and business owners who worked together
to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders”. He further asserted that city
government officials consistently made efforts to communicate with CBD stakeholders
to better understand and balance their needs. Another economic development manager
described a “downtown strategic action plan developed by a group of city stakeholders
consisting of business owners, property owners, a college, transit agencies, and CBD
residents”. Alternatively, an economic development manager from a developing CBD
Exploring urban
described it as having a “negative feel” and acknowledged that they needed to involve
the downtown’s constituents in redevelopment efforts but had not yet done so.
In flourishing CBDs, managing the CBD via public and private partnerships, in
turn, influenced public trust and confidence in city officials. Economic development
managers from these CBDs described citizens who exhibited a “sense of pride and
ownership” in the CBD. Evidence of civic pride was provided by taxpayers’ willingness
to vote for new and/or increased taxes to pay for capital improvements and CBD
rejuvenation projects. In addition, some cities had identified special funds (via special
grants and designated business improvement areas) to pay for CBD improvements.
One economic development manager commented that the downtown had become a
“shared living room” of the people.
Theme 4: creating attractive neighborhoods for urban residents
This theme, mentioned a minimum of 31 times, encompassed characteristics that
describe the living spaces in a CBD which differentiated flourishing from developing
CBDs. Drawing more affluent residents to downtown and improving housing
availability to attract diverse residents were dimensions that defined this theme.
The socioeconomic status of residents in neighborhoods located within and
surrounding a CBD varied considerably in flourishing compared to developing CBDs.
Residents of developing CBDs consisted of lower-income populations including
homeless and transient people and/or residents of subsidized housing. In addition to
these groups, neighborhoods in flourishing CBDs were composed of households from
middle and upper socioeconomic groups (e.g. singles in empty-nest lifecycle stage,
double-income families with no children, etc.).
Consistent with socioeconomic characteristics of CBD residents, the availability and
nature of housing was vastly different in the flourishing versus developing CBDs. Cities
with flourishing CBDs placed a high priority on improving housing quality, affordability,
and availability to attract diverse consumers including those with higher disposable
incomes. Their philosophy, shown in the next quote, was that having good housing for
consumers would eventually attract and support a stable retail and services infrastructure:
We are focused on housing improvement over retail. We believe in not having an artificial
environment to support retail. [It] needs to be near [a] residential base. No synthetic retail
demand will be sustainable.
In contrast, the philosophy espoused by economic development managers from
developing CBDs was one that emphasized developing their retailing and services
infrastructure over improving downtown housing. Thus, there was little diversity in
their respective populations to support a stable retailing and services infrastructure.
For example, they acknowledged that not having enough residents downtown was a
problem that affected its economic stability. They also recognized that a sufficient
downtown workforce did not guarantee patronage of downtown stores and services as
shown in this quote from an economic development manager:
The worker population has increased by 50-75 per cent, most due to a concerted effort on the
part of government to locate their offices in downtown. However, this population increase had
little effect on downtown’s economy or social atmosphere, as the new workers have followed
the example of the more long-term workers by rarely patronizing any downtown businesses
and fleeing to their north-end residences at 5 p.m.
Theme 5: managing auto and pedestrian traffic flow
The final economic development theme consisted of strategies to manage traffic issues
within each CBD. These included addressing parking availability and accessibility,
managing traffic flow for pedestrians and vehicles, and establishing connectivity
among CBD districts. A minimum of 28 comments comprised this theme.
In both flourishing and developing CBDs, traffic flow and parking was consistently
described as inconvenient. Despite ample availability of parking spaces in each CBD,
downtowns were regarded as inconvenient because consumers did not have direct and
easy access to their shopping destinations.
In addition, interviewees described each CBD as comprising several different
districts which needed to be easily accessed by both vehicles and pedestrians. In all
CBDs, connectivity among districts was a problem. Moreover, interviewees asserted
that when disconnected land use divided a CBD, the districts that were difficult to
access were not widely used, and thus, not highly valued. They also claimed that
disconnectedness contributed to lack of identity and sense of place in downtown areas
and discouraged extended visits to downtown. Compared to developing CBDs,
flourishing CBDs had addressed the “connectivity” issue more effectively via systems
of streets and mass transportation.
Discussion and conclusions
This research contributes to the urban retailing literature by systematically assessing
whether six similar Western US cities employed differentiating urban retail
management, marketing, and economic development strategies and by examining
the role played by urban retailers in planning and implementing general CBD economic
development strategies. Limitations that should be considered when evaluating the
results of the study include the qualitative approach used for data analysis which is
subject to researcher bias. In addition, the sample of cities was limited to comparable,
medium-sized Western US cities. Thus, other city types (e.g. varying in population size,
population characteristics, geographic locations) may have different issues and/or
resources and, therefore, approach redevelopment efforts using other strategies. Also,
while interviewees were selected based on specific criteria (e.g. economic development
or retailing employment category, length of time in business, etc.), they represent a
convenience sample. Still, the research approach permitted identification of common
strategies that consistently differentiated CBDs that had undergone redevelopment
and had attained reputations for improving their social and economic environments
(i.e. flourishing CBD) from those that had retained their developing reputations despite
revitalization efforts. While the study’s results cannot be generalized to all types of
CBDs, knowledge of approaches that have consistently produced positive results may
be useful to academicians and practitioners.
The first objective of this exploratory research was to examine urban retailing and
marketing strategies being employed in the CBDs. In flourishing CBDs, three dominant
themes comprising urban retail management and marketing strategies were identified.
City managers and retailers had successfully created a retail mix in each CBD that
provided consumers with a unique shopping experience. Consistent with suggestions
by Houston and Nevin (1980), these CBDs had diverse retailers including large anchors
with established brand names and small, independent retailers. Each retailer played
a role by using their brand name and/or unique image to attract consumers.
Exploring urban
While creating agglomeration shopping effects for consumers, these retailers (acting as
a group) were also able to deliver a shopping experience that enabled consumers to
associate urban retailing with a city’s individual personality. Linking a downtown’s
identity with the shopping experience being offered is consistent with principles for
branding places noted by Hankinson (2007) and Warnaby and Bennison (2006).
In addition, in flourishing CBDs, urban retailers worked together and with other
CBD stakeholders in complex partnerships to present themselves as part of an
integrated whole. This occurred via both formal and informal interactions with
strategic partnership agencies similar to those identified by Warnaby et al. (2002,
2004). Partnerships among both public and private CBD stakeholders no doubt also
facilitated urban retailers’ efforts to become part of their respective cities’ plans to deal
with ongoing social and economic environmental change. Efforts of urban retailers to
create coordinated and integrated management and marketing strategies is consistent
with recommendations from other researchers (Brodeur, 2003; Houston and Nevin,
1980; Robertson, 1997; Warnaby et al., 2002, 2004) who noted that some form of
centralized management helps to establish complementary images among retailers,
attract consumers to patronize the shopping area, and provide increased resources and
efficiencies for urban retailers.
The study’s second objective was to examine the role of urban retailers in assisting
to plan and execute strategies that are part of a CBD’s broader redevelopment efforts.
Results from interviews revealed five major strategic themes that defined revitalization
strategies employed in the six CBDs. These included:
(1) creating an urban design plan;
(2) emphasizing cultural activities and events to attract consumers and businesses;
(3) creating shared ownership via collective management;
(4) creating attractive neighborhoods for urban residents; and
(5) managing auto and pedestrian traffic flow.
In flourishing CBDs, retailers had direct involvement in implementing strategies
defined by three strategic themes. For example, flourishing CBDs had created design
plans for their urban environments. While adhering to an overall design plan for space
and building renovations, including retention of the historic character of each
downtown, the plans also incorporated spaces in which consumers were encouraged to
walk in the downtown shopping and entertainment districts (Theme 1) and to use the
urban environment for multiple purposes that included shopping, dining, and
attending cultural and special events (Theme 2). Because the presence of retailing was
integral to implementing each strategy, synergies were created to assure that general
economic development and retailer needs would be met. The urban design plan found
in flourishing CBDs helped establish an image that enabled retailers to offer unique
shopping experiences and encourage pedestrian traffic to retail stores via walkways
and plazas. In addition, the mixed-use environment in the flourishing CBDs comprising
business and entertainment/cultural venues resulted in attracting more traffic to all
downtown retail and services business. These findings are consistent with
recommendations for incorporating pedestrian-friendly walking areas into CBD
renovation projects and featuring entertainment and cultural activities in the
downtown area to draw consumer traffic (Filion et al., 2004; Robertson, 1997).
Retailer interests were also represented in the collective management style used in
flourishing CBDs. Retailers and other types of businesses played an important,
cooperative role with other private and government entities via strategic partnerships
that orchestrated economic redevelopment and management of the CBD. In doing so,
retailers were most likely co-recipients of the civic pride engendered via the combined
efforts of city stakeholders to develop and maintain a viable and successful CBD. This
finding is consistent with studies conducted in UK cities that found that, to promote
urban retailing, retailers needed to participate in formal, informal, and
initiative-specific strategic partnerships (Warnaby et a l. , 2004). Retailers in
flourishing CBDs described all three types of partnerships. While Warnaby et al.
(2004) reported that increased resources and enhancements in marketing effectiveness
and efficiencies were some of the benefits that accrue from strategic partnerships,
results from this study also suggests that civic goodwill stemming from collective
management of CBD enterprises may be a secondary benefit to urban retailers.
Urban retailers did not play direct roles in executing two of the economic
development strategic themes. These included creating attractive neighborhoods for
urban residents and managing auto and pedestrian traffic flow. However, retailers
were beneficiaries of these strategies when successfully implemented in a CBD. For
example, all flourishing CBDs had placed priority on development of stable downtown
housing under the assumption that a strong residential base was needed for the
long-term support of an urban retailing and services infrastructure. Therefore, while
urban retailers did not play a direct role with this revitalization strategy, its successful
implementation had potential long-term impacts on their financial well-being.
In addition, all CBDs (whether flourishing or developing) recognized a need to
address automotive and pedestrian traffic flow in the CBD. Particularly in flourishing
CBDs, issues related to traffic flow among various districts of a CBD had been
addressed more effectively than in developing CBDs. Improving traffic flow and
accessibility among a downtown’s districts can, in the long-term, encourage greater
patronage of urban retail businesses.
In summary, this study’s results demonstrate that there are similar patterns in the
respective economic revitalization and retail marketing and management strategies
employed by the flourishing CBDs investigated via this research and the urban
retailers located in those CBDs. Moreover, the strategies being employed in the
developing CBDs stood in stark contrast to those being implemented in flourishing
CBDs. In some cases, economic development managers and retail owners/managers
from developing CBDs acknowledged that their inability to utilize some of the
strategies being employed in flourishing CBDs may contribute to a poor return on
investment for their redevelopment efforts. Combined, these findings strongly suggest
that successful redevelopment outcomes may result from the types of strategies
employed by the flourishing CBDs examined by this research. In addition, these
successful strategies could be adapted to improve CBD and urban retailing
revitalization approaches and outcomes across cities.
Future research on urban retail development should undertake research to replicate
the strategy themes identified via this exploratory study across cities that vary in size
and geographic location. Research should also be conducted using probability samples
of diverse cities, both from the USA and other developed countries. In addition to
qualitative examinations of the revitalization strategies, future research might also use
Exploring urban
quantitative approaches in order to better understand the relative importance of
various retailing and economic revitalization strategies in contributing to successful
CBD redevelopment efforts.
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About the authors
Charlette Padilla holds a MS degree in Retailing and Consumer Sciences from The University of
Arizona. Research for her master’s degree focused on urban retail revitalization efforts in several
US cities. Prior to earning a MS degree, she owned and operated an urban retail store in Tucson,
Arizona, for 12 years. In addition, she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in
New York City where she also worked in the fashion manufacturing industry. She currently
serves on the Business Faculty of Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, where she
teaches courses in retail marketing and apparel merchandising.
Mary Ann Eastlick is an Associate Professor in the Division of Retailing and Consumer
Sciences at The University of Arizona where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in
retailing. Her research, focusing on consumer shopping behaviors and attitudes toward
store-based and nonstore retail firms, shopping malls, and multi-channel retail firms, has been
funded by professional associations, private foundations, and government agencies. She is
published in numerous journals including the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Retailing,
International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Journal of Retailing and Consumer
Services, and Journal of Direct Marketing. She also holds a PhD in retail management from
Purdue University. Mary Ann Eastlick is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:
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... After the urban development in North America experienced the wave of urban sprawl and suburbanization, CBD development faced many problems. Recently, its citizens are leading an exodus from suburbia back into the urban core, resulting in the revitalization of the downtown areas [30,31]. A lot of downtown revitalization projects that incorporated urban retailing were trying to attract shoppers back to the CBD [31]. ...
... Recently, its citizens are leading an exodus from suburbia back into the urban core, resulting in the revitalization of the downtown areas [30,31]. A lot of downtown revitalization projects that incorporated urban retailing were trying to attract shoppers back to the CBD [31]. Many Chinese megacities began to build a CBD from the mid-1990s, undergoing a rapid physical growth after 2000 in a handful of cities [15]. ...
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The central business district (CBD) has become the economic powerhouse of contemporary cities. China’s economic transition from world factory to a knowledge-based economy underpinned the development of hundreds of CBDs over the course of less than two decades. The plans promoted land use diversity and the incorporation of service facilities in the support of business function, but a rather different service environment emerged. Taking the Futian CBD of Shenzhen as the prototypical case, we examined the distribution, vitality, uses, and users of these facilities, which are largely built up by the private sector and without governmental support. A questionnaire sent to users and data derived from social media reveal that the vast majority of visitors of these service facilities do not work in the CBD and travel via the reformed mass transport system to this location. The high-quality public spaces and street environment, as well as the numerous service facilities, many of which are at a low economic order, attract people from all over the vast city, which homes over ten million, highlighting a new role for the CBD as a civic center. In contrast with the globalized business sought after by government and business leaders of the CBD, a new populist nexus is emerging and without significant support.
... customer satisfaction and FOOD WORLD should concentrate on some more retail strategies on store choice. Padilla and Eastlick (2009) conducted the exploratory examination of management strategies and urban retail marketing in 6 US cities having the reputation of central business districts that are either flourishing or developing. They classified strategies into three urban retailing and five economic revival themes. ...
The purpose of this book is to furnish a conclusive picture of retail management in the organised retail sector. Therefore, the book is multifarious and comprises the analysis of the various products & customer services and retailing strategies introduced by organised retail industry to comprehend the viewpoint of organised retailers. And to perceive the viewpoint of customers, an analysis of their buying behaviour, factors influencing their buying behaviour and satisfaction level with various products & customer services have also been incorporated in this book.
... Following that during the twentieth century, Downtown were transformed into central business districts containing housing and retail units. Following deindustrialization of the cities and the inclination towards investing in the suburbs, urban revitalization or rehabilitation emerged to attract shoppers and businesses back to the city centre while maintaining the urban and cultural heritage of the centre (Padilla and Eastlick 2009) where some got gentrified. In both urban models, an important aspect that drove development is to compete internally and internationally with other countries and cities to attract investment and to attract cultural tourists. ...
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Recent years have witnessed a widespread cultural-led urban and regional policies in the urban rehabilitation process. Worldwide, urban developers use culture-based economy and industries as a driver for social, physical and economic regeneration through attracting a diverse population. This research aims to map arts and culture activities in Downtown Cairo. With the current arts and culture emerging scene in the case, the study investigates state of the art using empirical research tools. The purpose is to develop an evidence-based strategic plan for Cairo's Downtown using arts and culture activities. The current research design relies on a literature review, interviews with stakeholders and online surveys. The results showed that stakeholders have a similar vision for developing Downtown into an international destination using different methods. Locally translated, our findings indicate that the private sector is fostering arts and cultural activities, while the local authorities with their limited capacities are investing in urban and public infrastructure. The findings highlighted the importance of art and culture in the ongoing development approaches in Downtown Cairo. The paper figured out in the main conclusion that strategic plans are needed taking into consideration arts and culture events as a tool for urban development.
The purpose of this research work is to furnish a conclusive picture of retailing strategies of products and customer services in the organised retail sector. Therefore, the research work is multifarious and comprises the analysis of the various products & customer services and retailing strategies introduced by organised retail industry to comprehend the viewpoint of organised retailers. And to perceive the viewpoint of customers, an analysis of their buying behaviour, factors influencing their buying behaviour and satisfaction level with various products & customer services have also been incorporated in this work. Both descriptive and exploratory research approaches were employed in compiling this study. The study was endeavoured in the Maharashtra state of India and the organised retail stores from various segments were selected from various parts of the state. Efforts were made to cover the entire state geographically and regionally, at least 2 well-known cities were selected from each region. The whole Maharashtra state was divided into 5 regions, i.e. northern, southern, eastern, western and central. From each region, two well-known cities were selected. Further, from each city, one retail store was selected for the study. Out of total 10 retail stores, 5 were hyper stores and remaining 5 were super stores. These hyper and super stores have also been selected by a planning that from each region one hyper and one super store must be selected for the study. A non-probability convenience sampling technique was resorted for institutional (store personnel) and individual (customers) respondents. From each retail store, an institutional questionnaire got filled up by store personnel to receive accurate data about various products, services and retailing strategies introduced by the respective retail store. In total 2000 customers of retail stores (i.e. 10 retail stores * 200 customers) were contacted. From the area of each selected retail stores 200 respondents contacted at a convenient basis for obtaining data about their buying behaviour, factors influencing their buying behaviour, and satisfaction level pertained to products and services offered by retail stores. The research work is based on both secondary and primary data. Two instruments, one for personnel of retail stores (institutional questionnaire) and another for customers of retail stores (individual questionnaire), were constructed to accomplish the objectives of the study. Both questionnaires were tested by conducting a pilot study of the few respondents selected on a random basis. Taking the insight from this pre-testing of the questionnaires, certain items were included and even excluded to modify the questionnaire for the final study. Survey method and printed questionnaires were exercised in accumulating the primary data. The questionnaires were supervised individually practising the face to face approach. The research work yields vivid research results. Most noteworthy, results depicted that retailing strategies introduced by organised retailers are significant to sustain in the hyper-competitive retail market. Results also flaunted that customers are significantly satisfied with various products & services introduced by organised retailers except a few. The research work would be rationalised for its multiple utilities. The study contributes knowledge & facts about the merchandise (products) & customer services penetrated by organised retailers. The study aspires to reveal the retailing strategies determined by organised retailers. This study also delivers evidence about the dilemmas of customers along with some potential solutions to them. The study ascribes details for the betterment needed in the merchandise (products) & services that clients want. The study also determines diverse components and customer services mandatory to persist the retailing industry. The study additionally functions to deliver the factors that serve towards the superior level of customer satisfaction in the organised retail industry. The study also offers the suggestion to the management of organised retail stores to appraise upon the retailing strategy. The study assists in comprehending the retailing environment, retailing culture and the retail decision process.
The purpose of this study was to explore what it means to “shop local” and to investigate the extent to which store owners and their customers support the broader community by participating in the revitalization of a downtown area through their efforts. An interpretive design was used for this study, more precisely ethnographic methods. Specifically, participant observation, field notes, in-depth and field interviews, photography and online data collection were employed. 30 in-depth interviews and 49 field interviews were conducted with shoppers, store owners, and downtown development representatives. Findings highlight the complex nature of local shopping through the functional, social, economic, aesthetic and communal factors involved with the practice. Local shopping and local retail business ownership create positive changes within the community that contribute to downtown revitalization. Considered via practice theory, these factors provide a measure of activism and empowerment in the ways that they contribute to economic and social support for the area. This study is limited to a single city which has been in the process of revitalization for more than a decade, therefore findings may not be generalizable to cities at different stages in the revitalization process. This study provides valuable contributions concerning local retail businesses who operate within revitalizing downtown areas. For example, locallyowned retailers should consider the practical needs of the community while providing the more unique products typically offered in such stores. Further, shoppers are willing to support locally-owned businesses because they view them as integral to the community. Existing research has not addressed the reasons shoppers support locally-owned retail businesses and why store owners choose to operate in a revitalizing downtown. This paper attempts to fill that research gap.
The Main Street Program is a popular smaller-scale economic development strategy used to revitalize historic town centers across the rural United States. In this article, a difference-in-differences design using longitudinal business establishment data is implemented to estimate the program’s causal impact on job and establishment growth in downtown retail districts. Using a pooled sample of four Midwest states, the author found no significant effect of Main Street Program adoption on downtown jobs or establishments. However, for each individual state, a substantial degree of structural heterogeneity across states exists. Iowa emerges as a state where the Main Street Program appears to yield its hypothesized economic benefits to the downtown business districts of participating communities. These findings suggest that Main Street Program participation effects are not generalizable across states and that implementation and local context matter.
Purpose Despite the critical role given to small independent retailers (SIRs) in the revitalisation of city centres, little knowledge exists about their actual competitive strategies. Existing literature rather is normative, recommending SIRs to focus on customer orientation. Thus, the aim of this study is to identify the types of competitive strategies really adopted by SIRs. Design/methodology/approach This qualitative study is based on 13 semi-structured interviews of the booksellers, beer and wine merchants we met around Paris (France) in 2018. Data analysis was conducted in two stages: each interview was coded to bring out themes, which were then linked in cognitive maps. Findings Five types of SIRs' competitive strategies emerged from the study, depending on their main focus of attention. Either SIRs have no weapon to fight against external factors and they suffer competition or they have limited means and focus on their relationship with customers or even they possess a specific resource they can rely on (innovative character, skills, values) to go beyond ordinary customer orientation. Practical implications The typology should be a useful tool for SIRs interested in competitive strategies and for municipalities looking for new insights to succeed in the revitalisation of their city centres. Social implications Revitalisation of city centres is a big challenge for many Western cities, especially small- and middle-sized ones. Originality/value To the best of our knowledge, the typology that comes from this study is the very first one on SIRs. Theoretically, it may help organise researches on SIRs' competitive strategies. Pragmatically, it provides a better understanding of SIRs' competitive strategies.
This paper aims to answer the following research question: does the knowledge city environment stimulate entrepreneurship? To answer this question, we develop a framework and multidimensional indexes to better explain the different dimensions of a ‘knowledge city’ and their relation to urban entrepreneurship, defined in terms of new and digital ventures. The analysis was performed on a sample of 60 cities, including all capital cities in the EU28 and 32 non-capital cities in the EU that are considered important knowledge hubs. The presence of cities from EU28 countries is important to foster the entrepreneurship attitude in each national context. Our study makes a significant contribution to the literature by providing a new approach to understand the factors affecting knowledge cities and to identify the city profiles that are key for the development of urban-level entrepreneurship, thus providing a number of important insights for academics and urban policy makers.
A substantial literature has established the competitive impacts of retail chain development on single location retail businesses. This study explores the characteristics of these impacts at the local level through analysis of the structure of five distinctive retail districts in Denton, Texas. The analysis focuses on Denton’s central business district (CBD), a traditional retail strip, a special retail district, an enclosed shopping mall, and a power retail center. The empirical foundation for the investigation is a business database covering the years 1997 to 2010. This database captures location, industry, and firm status (single versus chain location) for each business operating in the city. Through the study period, the single versus chain location relationship did not substantially change within any of the districts. However, all five retail districts experienced decreasing retail diversity, indicating a greater focus on specific business types. Denton’s power retail center focused on chain restaurants and big box stores, while the CBD shifted from low-end retail to local food and drinking establishments. Both of these leading districts appear to have developed unique competitive advantages, In the CBD’s case this is especially instructive given the many other cities where chains have out-competed local retailers and associated business clusters.
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Public policies for urban development have traditionally emphasized investment in physical infrastructure, the development of large‐scale commercial facilities, the construction of new housing, and the renewal of existing neighborhoods. Most efforts to revitalize central cities by building new facilities for visitors have focused on suburban commuters and tourists. At the same time, many housing initiatives in central cities have concentrated on low‐income communities because outlying suburban areas have attracted traditional middle‐income households.This article argues that emerging demographic and cultural trends—combined with changes in the structure of business organizations and technological advances—provide new opportunities for cities to retain and attract middle‐class households. Using gay and lesbian populations as an example, it focuses on the role that nontraditional households can play in urban redevelopment. In light of the rise of nontraditional households and the growth of self‐employment and small businesses, cities should adopt policies that make them attractive places in which to live and work.
Fewer malls are being built, and statistics from the National Main Street Program show that people are spending a lot less time in them today than in 1990. It is clear that the market for malls is saturated. All of this is good news for traditional downtowns and Main Street. The one-of-a-kind look of downtowns is attracting an entirely new market. Signs of the boom can be found throughout California and the rest of the U.S.; however, preparing downtowns to compete with malls is a big challenge. Unfortunately, some downtowns have over-glamorized their public spaces to the point that people ignore the storefronts. Simply making a pretty downtown is not enough. Streetscapes should be appealing, but they should not compete for attention with the retail function of downtown businesses.
Named by Newsweek magazine to its list of "Fifty Books for Our Time." For sixteen years William Whyte walked the streets of New York and other major cities. With a group of young observers, camera and notebook in hand, he conducted pioneering studies of street life, pedestrian behavior, and city dynamics. City: Rediscovering the Center is the result of that research, a humane, often amusing view of what is staggeringly obvious about the urban environment but seemingly invisible to those responsible for planning it. Whyte uses time-lapse photography to chart the anatomy of metropolitan congestion. Why is traffic so badly distributed on city streets? Why do New Yorkers walk so fast-and jaywalk so incorrigibly? Why aren't there more collisions on the busiest walkways? Why do people who stop to talk gravitate to the center of the pedestrian traffic stream? Why do places designed primarily for security actually worsen it? Why are public restrooms disappearing? "The city is full of vexations," Whyte avers: "Steps too steep; doors too tough to open; ledges you cannot sit on. . . . It is difficult to design an urban space so maladroitly that people will not use it, but there are many such spaces." Yet Whyte finds encouragement in the widespread rediscovery of the city center. The future is not in the suburbs, he believes, but in that center. Like a Greek agora, the city must reassert its most ancient function as a place where people come together face-to-face.
In recent years there has been an emerging literature with regard to corporate brands and their management. This paper examines the relevance and potential contribution of this literature to the management of destination brands. It is evident that there are important features of destination brands that distinguish them from product brands and that these have led to differences in the way destination brands are created, developed and maintained. The paper concludes that corporate brands, in contrast, share similarities with destination brands and that the emerging literature on corporate branding can therefore make an important contribution to our understanding of the particular problems of destination brand management and how it might be improved. The paper presents five guiding principles and a framework for the management of destination brands based upon the literature reviewed. An agenda for future consideration and research is also presented.
This article reframes the inquiry into downtown economic redevelopment by raising the question of whether downtown malls affect how citizens feel about their community. Unlike other studies that focus almost exclusively on objective economic indicators, the authors employ perceptual data to measure how a new mall in downtown Providence, Rhode Island affected residents' shopping behavior, views on community spirit, and evaluation of the mayor. Drawing on data from a public opinion poll of Providence residents, they conclude that Providence's downtown mall has had positive economic spillover and has heightened civic pride, but it has had no significant effect on residents' views of the mayor's job performance. These and other of their results demonstrate that city boosters who justify such projects based on economic revitalization and improved community spirit are likely to have arguments that resonate with residents.
Purpose To detail the changing nature of retail and service activity in Canada's downtowns and examine the role of business improvement areas (BIAs) in promoting downtown vitality. Design/methodology/approach The research is based on a combination of retail structural analysis and case study research. The structural analysis provides data on transitioning urban demographics and tracks retail and service activity sales change in Canada's major metropolitan downtowns. The case study reports an overview of findings from in‐depth research with the Downtown Yonge BIA. A small number of retail metrics are presented. Findings The paper highlights the significant suburb shift in retail activity across Canada's metropolitan areas and the associated challenges that this has resulted in for the downtown. The role of BIAs are outlined, and examined with reference to operation of the BIA concept within the downtown core of Canada's largest metropolitan market, Toronto. Research limitations/implications The research has been selective in focusing on the Downtown Yonge BIA, the experiences of BIAs across Toronto (and other Canada metropolitan areas) are likely to vary widely. Highlights the need to develop metrics to measure performance and compare BIAs. Practical implications The paper provides an interesting perspective on BIA strategies, with the selected metrics providing BIA managers and urban planners with a set of additional measures to assess BIA performance Originality/value The paper relates BIA planning to the development of performance metrics.