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Retail distribution and urban form : Street-based models for the French Riviera

Abstract : This doctoral dissertation analyses and discusses the relationship between the spatial distribution of retail and urban form. More precisely, in this work, we focus on the spatial statistical relationships which occur between the localisation of small and average-sized stores and the physical properties of the urban form in the metropolitan area of the French Riviera. The underlying hypothesis of this research is that the physical characteristics of the built-up landscape might influence how humans perceive and use urban space, and, ultimately, how stores are distributed and organised within cities. In the last two decades, scholars have been increasingly investigating this relationship. Nonetheless, both retail and urban form characteristics are often reduced to the simple notions of store density and street-network configuration respectively. Several aspects, such as the retail morpho-functional agglomeration typology, the geometrical characteristics of the streetscape and the contextual influence of the urban fabric are traditionally excluded from these analyses. These aspects should be even more important when studying highly heterogeneous metropolitan areas like the French Riviera, a combination of differently-sized cities and paradigmatic morphological regions: medieval centres, modern and contemporary planned areas, and suburban sprawl. To overcome these limitations, computer-aided, theory-based protocols are accurately selected and developed in this dissertation, allowing for the extraction of quantitative measures of retail and urban form. In particular, starting from traditional theories of retail geography and urban morphology, two location-based network-constrained procedures are proposed and implemented, providing a fine-grained description of the urban and retail fabrics at the street-level. These methodologies are based on innovative combinations of geoprocessing and AI-based protocols (Bayesian Networks). The statistical relationship between retail and urban morphological descriptors isinvestigated through the implementation of several statistical regression models. The decomposition of the study area in morphological subregions both at the meso- and macroscale, combined with the implementation of penalised regression procedures, enables the identification of specific combinations of urban morphological characteristics and retail patterns. In the case of the French Riviera, the outcomes of these models confirm the statistical significance of the relationship between street-network configurational properties and retail distribution. Nevertheless, the role of specific streetscape morphometric variables is demonstrated to be also a relevant aspect of the urban form when investigating the retail distribution. Finally, the morphological context both at the meso- and macro- scale is demonstrated to be a key factor in explaining the distribution of retail within a large urban area.
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Alessandro Araldi. Retail distribution and urban form : Street-based models for the French Riviera. Geography. Université Côte d'Azur, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019AZUR2018⟩. ⟨tel-02467816⟩



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