Bari, Italy. Photo by Gianni Cipriano
Bari, Italy. Photo by Gianni Cipriano

Streetlife: The Future of Urban Retail is a book edited by Conrad Kickert and Emily Talen, published by the University of Toronto Press.

If cities are their streets, and streets are their uses, what do the profound changes in urban retail mean for the future of our cities? Small independent retailers are the life-blood of thriving urban neighborhoods -- what’s keeping them from thriving? What are the roots of their struggles — from market realities to government regulations? What incentives or financing mechanisms have successfully supported neighborhood shops?

The contemporary challenges facing urban retail have unleashed a deep sense of loss – at times even mourning. Urban storefronts signify far more than points of purchase. They serve as centers of social and cultural life, economic opportunity, and are the foundation of thriving urban neighborhoods. Shifting far more rapidly than urban structure and form itself, storefronts are excellent if ephemeral barometers of the vitality of their surroundings, predicting and perpetuating growth or decline.

Is the demise of traditional storefront retail, then, inevitable? And if so, what will the streets left behind become? This edited volume brings together authors who explore the topic from multiple angles.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Urban Retail Predicament Conrad Kickert and Emily Talen

Retail Trends and Transformations

The Life and Death of Retail: Insights from Firm Demography, Luc Anselin and Irene Farah

The Ups and Downs of Retail, 2000 – 2015, Kevin Credit, Irene Farah and Luc Anselin

Commercial Gentrification: What Happens to Businesses and Services when the Neighborhood Changes? Rachel Meltzer

The Case of E-Commerce

Bricks and Clicks, Liz Mack

The Changing Demand for Urban Retail Space: Evidence from Canada, Christopher Daniel and Tony Hernandez

Online Sales and the British Urban Retail Hierarchy, Colin Jones

The Survival of Mom-and-Pops

Small Business Survival: How and Why? Vikas Mehta

The Enduring Optimism of the Mom and Pop Store, Emily Talen

What’s In A Chain?: On Hipness, Corporate Stores, and False Dichotomies in Urban Life, Jeffrey Nathaniel Parker

Retail, Place, and Place-making

Retail Scenes, Hyesun Jeong and Terry Clark

The Urban Morphology of Main Street, Rosa Danenberg

Retail in the Mix, Matthew Carmona

Toward Solutions

Curating Main Streets: The Factors of Success, Michael W. Mehaffy and Tigran Haas

The Spatial Logic of Urban Retail, Conrad Kickert

The Future of American Urban Retail Real Estate, Heather Arnold

Conclusion: Urban Retail Redefined Conrad Kickert and Emily Talen