Two Towns in Germany: Commerce and the Urban Transformation

Two Towns in Germany: Commerce and the Urban Transformation

Two Towns in Germany: Commerce and the Urban Transformation

Two Towns in Germany: Commerce and the Urban Transformation

Synopsis

Many forces threaten the viability of town centers. One of them is trade concentration in which family businesses are replaced by large, vertically integrated retail enterprises. Town centers, once locations of a rich variety of street stores in the hands of a local and independent merchant community, are being supplanted by monolithic and decentralized commercial zones. This process is documented in contemporary Germany for two towns, one grounded in a market economy and the other, until recently, socialistically based. In both cases, trade concentration is a prevailing force-- a pattern that is not only found in post-industrialized nations, but also in developing countries in Latin America and Asia and is indicative of an emerging global culture.
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