AuthorMaksic, Milica
  1. Introduction

    The structure of retailing in the Republic of Serbia has significantly changed in the last decade. Participation of modern retail formats in the retail network such as western-style shopping centers, retail parks and hypermarkets has increased significantly, especially in Belgrade as the capital city.

    The process of large-scale retail spatial policy formulation is researched in this paper in the theoretical framework of neo-institutional theory. With the new institutionalism as a theoretical framework, governance has become a key interest in the study of urban policy (Stoker, 2000).

    The problem of large-scale retail is very complex, especially in relation to decision-making on different levels of government. The framework of neo-institutional theory enables, besides analysis of policy and decision-making problems at different levels of government, an analysis of roles of private and civil sector in this process.

    In the developed European countries the problem of large-scale retail policy has been analyzed for several decades and the institutional framework was formulated and changed in this area. During that time, numerous studies have been carried out to analyze environmental, social, as well as economic effects of large-scale retail building. In the beginning most of these studies dealt with economic effects (city centre decay, new employment, reduction of the existing trading area), whereas environmental and social effects (pollution from increased car usage, sustainable development, isolation of disadvantaged shoppers) subsequently gained significance (Ibrahim and McGoldrick, 2003).

    The effects of large-scale retail building were researched by Guy (1998, 2007), England (2001), Bromley and Thomas (2003), Timmermans (2004). They found numerous economic, social and environmental consequences of the construction of large retail stores in developed European countries.

    According to England, economic impact is concerned fundamentally with the consideration of changes in retail turnover or trading patterns in shopping centers as a result of new shopping development. The trend towards out-of-town retailing has raised concerns about the adverse employment effects of new retail developments (England, 2001).

    Guy notes that social impacts relate to efficiency and equity aspects of the developments themselves and their trading impacts. This author notes that there have been unquestionable benefits for consumers from modern retailing, simply from ever-widening the choice of consumer goods available, and the increasing differentiation of both goods and shopping formats by life-cycle and lifestyle. Equity aspects are concerned partly with the loss of retailing from traditional centers, and the impact of this on those who rely particularly on these shopping opportunities (Guy, 1998). Those who do not own cars have become polarized as a disadvantaged groups whose poor mobility constrains their access to urban facilities (Bromley and Thomas, 2003).

    According to England, out of town developments are attractive to many retailers and shoppers because of the availability of free car parking and good road access, while at the same time, impacts relating to traffic generation, congestion and pollution in town centers are becoming much more significant (England, 2001). Traffic impacts in terms of the immediate impact of several hundred vehicles per hour travelling to or from a decentralized store can be unpleasant to the local environment and may necessitate local road improvements (Guy, 1998).

    Decentralized retailing has been accused of encouraging private car travel at the expense of walking, cycling and public transport trips, and adding to the overall length of shopping trips by car. The counter argument, that further development of off-center retailing is desirable because it reduces average trip length, has also been debated (Guy, 1998). Already in the 1970s, research has shown that the commercial viability of inner-city shopping street is highly influenced by pedestrian movement and that the impact of new retail development is closely related to the locational patterns of magnet stores and the distribution of the transport termini (Timmermans, 2004).

    Guy says that the decentralization of retailing has allowed many town centers retail functions to become established in suburban or edge-of town locations, but in so doing has tended to divorce shopping from its wider business and recreational context. In this sense, shopping has become much more a single-purpose activity. This implied loss of social involvement in the wider community has to some extent been replaced by the involvement of other family members in the shopping trip (Guy, 2007). Also, the physical appearance of off-center retailing has been much criticized (Guy, 1998).

    The impact of large-scale retail building on urban environment has been researched in post-socialist countries as well. In relation to motorization policy, the research of Yaakov and Dybicz shows that hypermarkets significantly reduce the number of trips made, but convert them into motorized and longer distance trips. In the extreme case in a motorized country, larger and more appealing retail will draw significant number of people from smaller towns on occasional trips that are hundreds of kilometers in length (Yaakov and Dybicz, 2006).

    The social impacts have been researched in post-socialist countries as well. The research of Nagy, focused on the transition of the inner spaces of Czech and Hungarian cities that have been accelerated by large-scale retail investments, shows that local society has become strongly differentiated in terms of access to shopping facilities and consumer habits. The location of shopping becomes a marker of social status even in the case of daily consumption goods (Nagy, 2001).

    In order to direct large-scale retail building, developed European states have adopted different types of regulation during the period of several decades. Davies says that regulations, which are usually legally enforced documents, can range from zoning maps, which indicate where certain types of retail development may take place in an area, to stipulations about how large new store or shopping center proposals can be in an area (Davies, 2004).

    Baar divides West European legislation governing the construction of hypermarkets and large shopping centers into three general categories: laws which require con sideration of the impacts of major retail projects on town centers and the environment in the course of reviewing permit applications and mandate that center city preservation has a priority in retail policy; laws which require consideration of the impacts of proposed commercial projects on existing retail shops and laws which prohibit the construction of large retail outlets and shopping centers which are more than a specific size outside of center cities (Baar, 2002).

    In developed European countries, linking transport policies with large-scale retail building policies is very important. For example, the key aim of national document Planning Policy Statement 13 (PPS13): Transportation and Land Use, formulated by the Department of Communities and Local Government in England is social involvement and the need to provide that jobs, trade, recreation, and services are available by public transport, by bicycles, and by foot. This document emphasizes travel plans making for particular locations which are submitted with the application for the planning permission, for building projects which are likely to have significant transport implications (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2005).

    In their comparative research undertaken in selected countries from Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe, Fernandes and Chamusca concluded that the cultural and socioeconomic specificities of each country (and those of each region, city or urban area) strongly influence the design and elaboration of public policies, plans and programs regarding urban spaces and the urban retail sector and that legal framework, which is established by public authorities, plays a decisive role in the development and location of retail structures (Fernandes and Chamusca, 2014).

    Jackson and Watkins say that the nature and scope of retail planning need to be understood in terms of the broad range of activities covered by planning policy guidance. Their analysis suggests separation of local planning policies into several distinct influences (supportive property market context, promotional policies (including town-center management strategies), physical and land constraints (in town center and peripheral locations), and retail-specific policy measures) (Jackson and Watkins, 2005).

    Although large-scale retail stores have been built for more than one decade in Serbia, specific attention to this problem has not been directed in spatial planning through policy, regulation, laws, and overall assessment of economic, social and environmental impact of these stores. Spatial plans in Serbia at all levels of spatial organization do not deal with the issue of large-scale retail building (do not elaborate the themes of: large-scale retail distribution; the connection of large-scale retail building to the network structure of settlements; environmental, social and economic impacts of the construction of large retail). In the absence of national, regional and municipal rules in this area, location and rules for large-scale retail building are determined in specific, individual urban plans at the local level.

    One reason for not recognizing these theme in Serbia may be found in the fact that, despite the development of a network of hypermarkets and shopping malls in the last decade, the number of large stores built in Serbia significantly lags behind advanced countries in transition, especially the most developed countries of the European Union, so the effects of building large stores are less pronounced. According to Jones Lang...

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