Management of business activities along streets; an often neglected aspect of urban design

  • YEAR
    Lesan, Maryam
    Gjerde, Morten
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Environment and Landscape Architecture


Amongst researchers, urban designers and city managers there is increasing interest in how streets can support social activities. Throughout history, streets have been much more than channels for moving about the city, they have also been places for social intercourse. Street-based social activities are stimulated by relationships that exist between a street’s physical characteristics, the land use activities that take place there and how these two factors are managed over time. Streets are different from other forms of public open space (such as parks) in that they support commercial and retail activities. The paper discusses the importance of business management, arguing that retail activities make important contributions to the perceptual qualities of the street which in turn can make them more successful. The extent to which footpaths become the public domain of different ethnic and cultural groups in multi-cultural societies also depends greatly on the characteristics of the privately owned businesses along the street. But which business activities encourage cultural diversity in multicultural settings? To answer this question, the paper examines one street in each of three socially and ethnically diverse New Zealand communities. The findings are then considered in relation to the way shopping centres are managed. The case is made for stronger management strategies for the land use activities that line public streets in order for them to remain vital to a range of ethnic cultures. Shopping centres, on the other hand, appear to be stuck in formulaic tenancy mix practices and could benefit by adopting practices that are responsive to local social and cultural characteristics.


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