retail and business districts (urban)

retail and business districts (urban)
The urban and retail business districts of China’s cities are undergoing dynamic and rapid change. Rising income in step with China’s overall rapid economic growth, coupled with greater openness and involvement with the global economy, are leading to rising demand for consumer goods. This dynamic growth and intensified economic activity in turn are having a dramatic impact on land use, spatial structure and the appearance of downtown core areas, as well as leading to a substantial expansion of major retail outlets in peripheral areas of large cities in response to the increased mobility of affluent urbanites and rapid suburban development. In Shanghai, for example, Nanjing Road remains the downtown core retail shopping area with major outlets of leading world-class retailers from Japan, Europe and the United States. High-rise construction of commercial and some residential space proceeds apace as the use of core urban land assumes a value similar to that found in all market economies.
The cities then begin to resemble Western cities with taller buildings nearer the city centre (see skyscrapers). Yet retail activities also follow consumers in China’s growing cities and are springing up outside the older traditional cores in peripheral and suburban areas. Construction of complexes containing four and five-star hotels have led to additional multiple retail centres in various parts of the larger cities to serve the increasingly affluent (see shopping malls). In the south, the relatively new but rapidly growing city of Shenzhen has witnessed the appearance of major retail outlets associated with European and North American chains, including a Sam’s Club located near large new high-rise apartment complexes for the growing wealthy class. China’s cities are thus being made over both in the older downtowns, which are being rebuilt piecemeal, often upwards, and especially towards their peripheries with improved transportation (see ring roads) and a greater abundance of land available for new development.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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