Schaufler Viktor G.
TRANSPORT PROBLEMS - TWO CAUSES AND TWO TOOLS TO RESOLVE THEM
Architecton: Proceedings of Higher Education №2 (38) June, 2012
Why do the German megacities experience virtually no transport collapses? The urban infrastructures in this country were established as early as in the Middle Ages, whereas the number of cars is higher than in Russia. The answer to this question is hidden in the cause or, in fact, two causes that give rise to this problem: daily trips to work and regular shopping trips. A Western European city official has two "tools" available to him/her to regulate these social phenomena: the guest parking city policy and the so-called city centre concept. Both "tools" pursue just one aim – to «encourage» motorists to give up the use of their personal cars. No other way to cardinally solve this problem has been found as yet.
Schaufler Viktor G.
CITY CENTRES, RETAIL TRADE, THE "RIGHT" AND THE "LEFT" IN THE CITY Based on analysis of Western European experiences
Architecton: Proceedings of Higher Education №1 (33) March, 2011
The system of retail trade in a city connects free market economy with spatial infrastructure and predetermines the classical conflict between private capital and town planning. The issue is the cost of land, which grows higher, the closer to the city centre. Of course, private business is interested in locating shopping areas in low-cost peripheral plots of land which are not integrated into the structure of the city centre and which are now easily accessible thanks to mass motorisation. As a result, city centres are losing their functions, and cities increase in size, engulfing surrounding natural landscapes and choking in traffic congestions.
The Western European approach is based on regulation of retail trade through administrative restrictions imposed on the range of goods sold and shopping floor area depending on where the shopping centre is located in the city. The closer to the centre, the broader the range of the goods that are more attractive for shoppers (textiles, footwear, domestic electronics, books, etc.). The tool of such regulation is the Concept of Retail Trade Centres, which is realised in town-planning regulations. Each potential investor has an opportunity to familiarize him/herself with the centres concept and get a comprehensive understanding of what goods and in what quantities s/he can sell at shopping areas planned.
Essentially, this approach is nothing short of a socially justified "intervention" of the public domain into private property. With regard to interaction between private business and city authorities, we can formulate two social and economic gradients:
- L-GRADIENT: public social (the left side);
- R-GRADIENT: private capital (the right side).
The component that integrates the "right" and the "left" into a single whole is the «IMAGE OF THE CITY», or the factor that characterizes the general status of the city in the region, in the country, and in the world. The creation and maintenance of the city image is a purely town-planning issue, i.e. pertaining to the social domain or the L-gradient. The image of the city determines the appeal of the city for private capital, i.e. the extent and direction of action of the R-gradient. Social and economic life in the city may thus be presented in the form of the following model of interests and related financial flows:
A city’s low image is indicative of weak public authority and domination of the R-gradient over the L-gradient. Cities of this category find themselves to be practically under the diktat of private capital with all of its implications: ruined infrastructure, uncontrolled trade, "ambitious" architecture to the detriment of improvements, omnipresent advertising in the city space, etc. An excessive influence of the L-gradient on city life leads, in turn, to strong restrictions on the principal sponsor of city life – private capital and, hence, to reduced finance available to the city.
Maintaining an optimal balance to ensure stability and development for the city organism is a big challenge for city authorities. It is stability that makes it possible to regulate shopping business by administrative means and, thus, is a prerequisite to the creation of an optimal spatial infrastructure in the city.
Schaufler V.G. CITY CENTRES, RETAIL TRADE, THE "RIGHT" AND THE "LEFT" IN THE CITY. Based on analysis of Western European experiences [Online] //Architecton: Proceedings of Higher Education. – 2011. – №1(33). – URL: http://archvuz.ru/en/2011_1/8