Aktuelle Publikation von Prof. Angela Uttke in disP 185 – 2/2011
Old and emerging centers
Local food markets as today’s anchors in urban centers
Supermarkets and discount food stores are more than places of supply. They are places to meet and greet those in the community. Kids use spacious parking lots after store hours for skateboarding and playing soccer. The latest news from community councils are posted here. A “For Sale” board in the market is today’s neighborhood flea market.
Local food markets are anchors for centrality in many small urban centers. In the past decade however, as location and sale strategies are revised, many of these centrally located small and mid-sized food markets close and more spacious and automobile-oriented locations are opened. Results are not only new emerging commercial centers but also declining traditional urban centers. Often they lose their most important anchor business and main local supplier of everyday goods and services.
By the German spatial planning law local authorities have to secure the traditional neighborhood centers as places of local supply, identification and heritage. But the structural integration and re-direction of food retail developments into mostly densely built-up central locations creates a dilemma for planners. Planners can see possibilities. Local food markets in general can stabilize traditional neighborhood centers. But there is a large uncertainty in handling the aggressive retail developments and the spatial demands of food market operators, above all the very fast expanding discount food stores of German chains like ALDI or LIDL.
Given this general development in food retailing, what can city planners do to keep or to integrate local food markets into central locations? The presented study was designed to discuss: the situation of discount food stores and supermarkets developments in urban centers; the coexistence of old and emerging commercial centers, both very much defined by the location of food retailers; spatial demands and possibilities to integrate the land-consumptive layout of the modern food store developments into the urban texture of traditional urban centers; and fields of action to influence the location and design of food retail developments.