A study on the urban renewal of shopping centres

On November 15th, 2022, Arte Charpentier and ARP astrance organised an event following a study on the future of commercial areas. For a year, we jointly reflected on the global context of changes in the uses of these spaces. The reduction of soil artificialisation, commercial developments (e-commerce, consum’actors, etc.), and the public authorities’ choice to address this subject (“coeur de ville 2” action on city outskirts) are all factors promoting the transformation of these areas.

Several speakers were invited to discuss these issues: Nhood as a key speaker and commercial property developer, academics, including Arnaud Gasnier, a university professor in urban planning and development, and public authorities, with the Association Nationale de la cohésion des territoires. Arte Charpentier has been hosting the doctoral student Sophia Verguin, who is working on her thesis on these subjects.

Several observations emerged from these discussions. Commercial areas represent significant real estate reserves. For example, in Île-de-France, there are 6,800 shops of more than 300 m², which represent 9 million m² of retail space, most of them located in the Grande Couronne. Also in Île-de-France, there are 191 commercial areas with an average surface area of 15 ha. And of the 45,000 hectares of Economic Activity Zones (EAZs) in the same area, commercial areas represent 2,785 hectares. By way of comparison, the industrial wastelands identified by the Institut Paris Région cover a total area of 4,200 hectares.

Several urban conditions for the implementation of these projects have been identified, including the existence of neighbourhoods or subdivisions adjacent to the commercial area, proven housing needs and a framework of public transport infrastructure or infrastructure with low environmental impacts.

In summary, it emerged that commercial areas combine significant urban issues, that their transformation into pieces of cities or neighbourhoods is one potential development, and finally that these spaces could be seen as the centralities of peri-urban areas.

Commercial property developers in the spotlight

The event on November 15th took place in four stages:

  • Arnaud Gasnier, University Professor in Urban Planning and Development, presented a review of commercial areas.
  • Hervé Moal, external consultant at ARP astrance, presented the aforementioned study.
  • Then Gwennaële Chabroullet, Deputy Director General of ARP astrance, chaired a round table discussion that brought together:
    • Christelle Breem, Director of the Business Premises Restructuring Fund of the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion
    • Hatice Keyik, Leader Visions de Sites at Nhood, mixed real estate operator, manager, developer and promoter with a triple positive impact,
    • Laura Jehl, Doctor of Urban Planning, Head of the District Revitalisation and Economic Real Estate Sector at Est Ensemble).
  • Finally Sophia Verguin, architect HMONP, PhD student and researcher at Arte Charpentier conducted a participatory workshop. This workshop made it possible to test urban renewal proposals for commercial areas. Four sites were proposed to groups comprised of project managers, contracting authorities and other commercial actors. In one hour, the exercise consisted of testing project proposals on these sites, together with brief analyses.

The podcast of the event is now available: