21 May 2015

URBAN Intergroup meeting in Strasbourg – 21 May 2015

The last meeting of the URBAN Intergroup took place on Thursday, May 21st in Strasbourg.


The main point of this month’s meeting was presentation of the EU project EPOurban by Mr Karsten Gerkens, Director of the Office of Urban Regeneration and Residential Development for Leipzig City Council. Core outputs, results, conclusions and next steps included in the EPO urban: Enabling private owners of residential buildings to integrate into Urban Restructuring Processes policy paper were discussed. A vivid debate with URBAN members followed and various issues regarding the urban regeneration have been raised.


The meeting was a perfect occasion to exchange knowledge and practices leading to a better urban policy in the future. More information about the meeting in 15th issue of the URBAN Newsletter.

12 May 2015

Modern cities and the future of our high street

On May 12th, The Parliament Magazine and Fraunhofer IAO organized a roundtable debate on ‘Modern cities and the future of e-commerce’. Jan Olbrycht, president of the URBAN Intergroup hosted the venue.  


This event aimed at discussing how different factors can change our city centres in the future, particularly the retail sector and high streets in Europe as we know them today. It also pointed at how cities can continue to attract citizens into the high street and city centres from a business and urban policy perspective.


Invited speakers, specialists in commerce, sociology and urban policy argue that the future of retail is not predestined yet. Certainly, once ubiquitous monocentric urban model has been being replaced by a polycentric one, much less common in Europe. Changes in areas such as telecommunication, transport and construction take place much faster than it is possible to remodel the city planning. Therefore, it is difficult to customize the look and functioning of cities to much faster emerging new technologies and innovations.


E-commerce is not a new phenomenon, but is thriving and gaining market share. Is online shopping slowly pushing retail from city centres? Speakers taking part in this debate argue retail is still the most popular and it will not disappear. However, what is new is the omnichannel approach of retailers who tend to combine stationary and online shops. This phenomenon is intensified by a simultaneous demand for an easy access to products using Internet, and to see and touch these products which is only possible in stationary shops.


Jan Olbrycht, president of the URBAN Intergroup underlined that retail has always been a big part of European cities and town, whose centres were once delimited by markets. He insisted that cities and towns should find a way to overcome deserting city centres and look for new opportunities.

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