COVID Briefs Building back better: post-pandemic city governance

A competitive agenda for urban commerce in post-Covid-19 cities

Pilar Zorrilla

Pilar Zorrilla

Senior Lecturer, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

The structure of the urban commercial fabric is the result of continuous transformation. Among the phenomena that explain this are the emergence of large commercial centres on city peripheries displacing shopping from some settings to others, globalization and the high cost of spaces which empties city streets of local shops to replace them with franchises, and the digital explosion and development of e-commerce. In a scenario of changes in purchasing and consumption habits in which e-commerce was already growing, Covid-19 is added as an accelerator of this trend. Hence, the pandemic has aggravated the situation of many urban businesses which, burdened by losses and uncertainty, are closing their doors. It never rains but it pours. The underlying question is will Covid-19 be the definitive catalyst for the disappearance of urban commerce? If this is the case, and given that this is a key sector because of its importance in terms of employment, socioeconomic activity, and dynamism of cities, it is necessary to introduce measures to reverse the process.

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