Should there be any market place for ideas

New ideas for old marketplaces

- The city, as the sociologist Max Weber put it in an essay of the same name, is primarily defined as a marketplace. Cities have always been founded on intersecting trade routes, the preferred places for exchanging goods of all kinds. The city needs trade. The only question that arises is whether retail will still need the city in the future?

At the German Trade Congress 2011 in Berlin, for example, Michael Busch, head of Thalia, a bookseller belonging to Douglas Holding, already spoke of a tsunami afflicting his industry. He predicted a decline in sales in the stationary book trade by up to 40 percent. Busch is therefore downsizing its marketplace, the areas abandoned since 2010 add up to more than 20,000 square meters.

The change in retail tears gaps. How do cities and buildings have to change in order to fill them up again? Which of the future retail concepts will still work in today's buildings? How can rents be calculated in the future if the current share of sales of up to twelve percent no longer makes sense, since it is hardly possible to determine which sales were made in the store and which were made on the Internet - it may no longer be about selling, but just about presenting?

The industry is changing rapidly, sweeping companies out of their traditional markets and thus also their buildings within months. Urban planners who are used to thinking long-term deal with the consequences.

Meanwhile, the places of trade themselves are becoming a commodity. Investors now hardly keep buildings in cities for more than four to six years before selling them again. It used to be twice as long. Instead of development, what counts is rapid increase in value, letting - and the timely jump. Can cities be redesigned under these conditions?

brand eins has designed city and building views of the future with five experts from the fields of urban planning, real estate development and retail. Fixed walls will soon be a thing of the past, they will become flexible, ideally transparent or even virtual shelves - or they will disappear entirely.

And yet the city will function as a marketplace on intersecting trade routes in the day after tomorrow. But in future these will no longer just be paved, but rather link the offline and online world as virtual channels in the middle of the shopping street.

How the inner city can be renewed:1. Shopping vertical

The first gap fillers for urban retail space include those who caused them according to the common cliché: We are talking about online retailers. They discover the city, and now they can touch the world of goods they have intended to click on. While everyone is still waiting for the first Amazon department store, small online specialists are already opening their first offline presences in various cities alongside long-established butchers, opticians and grocery stores.

Other internet retailers pin their virtual worlds of goods to the facades of the shopping streets. Trade is evolving from a horizontal to a vertical industry. Instead of space, surfaces are of interest, for example in Washington's subway supermarkets, where passengers have recently been staring at virtual product shelves instead of bare concrete walls. Until the next train arrives, you can do your shopping with your smartphone. It is delivered directly to the front door.

New street furniture: The Dutch company provides boxes in shop windows and rents them out to customers who display their products in them. Passers-by order on their smartphone in passing. In Toronto, Mattel and Wal-Mart invite you to virtual toy stores. The display walls with 3-D images of toys can be installed in any pedestrian zone, simply click on the products depicted on them using your mobile phone. The phone becomes the new shopping bag.

2. Showtime

While some dealers bring their own four walls into the city themselves, the owners and real estate developers are more and more frequently clearing these out of their buildings. The shop window will be the two-dimensional 1-a-location of the future. Facades mutate into oversized presentation areas, behind which the corresponding shops no longer necessarily have to be located. Pedestrian zones become an open-air showroom.

3. From the meadow back to the pavement

The urban boulevard is increasingly attracting retailers who have so far hardly been found in the city. Furniture stores, discounters and car dealerships are drawn from the green fields to the inner cities. The prime locations are becoming even more interesting, the demand for space there is increasing - but the edges are crumbling. More on that later.

4. Secret shopping

The city center, at least in the metropolises, is becoming more and more exclusive. The trend is towards a shopping experience for the initiated - this is how brands set themselves apart from the ever-present competition. Behind inconspicuous doors they invite handpicked customers, the rest of the pack passes by, unsuspecting. The Abercrombie Fitch fashion brand turns store openings into well-kept secrets. Where and when new branches open their doors is hotly debated in the community. The chain does without outdoor advertising, bouncers guard the entrance like that of a nightclub. Passers-by hurried by the clouds of perfume that could be smelled in front of the entrance that there could be something behind the facade (see brandeins 02/2012,

5. Mixing

Housing in the city is scarce, at the same time there are large former department stores in good locations as insolvency assets that are difficult to rent. Why not turn it into apartments? For many shopping streets this could be the big challenge. The idea is one of the classic dreams of urban planners. It never really flourished, at least not on a significant scale - experts consider around 20 percent of the residential area in the shopping areas to be necessary to revive it.

To do this, all kinds of obstacles would have to be overcome. In many prime locations, for example, there is no infrastructure suitable for everyday use - everyday goods are not part of the range of showrooms or luxury boutiques. Only a few upper floors of the retail property are usually suitable as living space: Who would want to live on the ground floor between Fielmann and Karstadt? Conversions in these buildings are also difficult. Problems are caused by ceiling heights, a lack of daylight, unsuitable escape routes or stairwells.

6. Crumbling edges

Many city planners complain that alternative retail or living concepts, however interesting they may be in individual cases, often cannot achieve the rents demanded today. The rent index urgently needs to be adjusted in many places. The city center is too expensive to change.

If you want to try new things, you have to go to the outskirts of the cities. The pull of the city center, the shopping center and the internet provide plenty of free space and space for experimentation.

7. Motto district

A division can be observed in the metropolises: into the exclusive city and popular quarters on the one hand and detached quarters on the other. For the latter, urban developers see opportunities in thematic profiling. According to the council, these quarters should find a suitable topic for themselves, for example health care. Urban planners can help with this, for example by providing land.

It is best if the profile is sharpened by the population themselves. In some areas there is a tendency to decouple from the large flow of goods. To restore things yourself, to repair things, to promote social encounters. In East London, for example, designers used the weekly markets for a month-long project and designed a restaurant that can be set up and dismantled. Instead of a menu, a list of ingredients was given out: the guests brought this food from the weekly market as part payment for the restaurant, and a menu was cooked from it there.

8. A BID, please

One for all, all for one - the idea of ​​the Business Improvement District (BID) once caused quite a stir in New York. Shop owners and shop owners agreed on Union Square what some cultural critics saw as the downfall of the West: the marketing of an entire quarter. Grown urban culture cuddles before the commercial alliance of entrepreneurs and owners who want to polish up the district to promote sales: through joint marketing, collective financing of facade renovations or hiring a security service.

These BIDs also exist in Germany, for example in Hamburg around the Neuer Wall. The Hanseatic city even passed its own law to strengthen retail, service and commercial centers. If two thirds of the owners agree to such a zone, everyone else must finance it through a kind of compulsory levy. There is additional money from the city. These funds were used to renovate the facades of various buildings on the Neuer Wall, widen the sidewalks and create new parking spaces. Critics consider this to be a Potemkin urban development, because it is more about appearance than reality.

9. Interim use

The rapid pace of change can also be played against for a limited period of time, for example by letting areas that are currently not rentable be used cheaply for a while. There have been temporary use agencies in Berlin since 2005 that broker vacant buildings. According to a study by the Senate Department for Urban Development, almost every second intermediate user in the capital is in business. The Neukölln district is currently in the spotlight, while in Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg almost all areas are again commercially let. Some temporary arrangements lasted more than ten years, longer than some commercial leases. In the future, the challenges will lie in the disused department stores, where ideas for a few 10,000 square meters are required.

10. More traffic

If nothing works, driving might still help. In barren places, some planners rely on cars. Sidewalks are giving way to parking areas, and pedestrian zones are becoming 30 km / h streets. The good accessibility by car can especially enliven side streets; they become a destination for particularly pragmatic customers.

11. Create space

In spite of everything, many retail properties will not be able to be saved. In eastern Germany, urban demolition has long been under way. In many small towns, the decline in retailers and the population can hardly be stopped. Demolition remains the last, but not always the worst, means: it creates new space.

12. Cucumber troop

With urban agriculture, vacant lots can be closed in a productive way. New York City already has 700 urban farms, one of which is 4,000 square feet. Urban agriculture is even bigger in the Arab world and in China. The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology is currently researching special cultivation methods suitable for cities.

13. Sun and wind

The US economist Jeremy Rifkin proclaims the third industrial revolution in a bestseller of the same name, fueled by endlessly available energy. In the future, the urban real estate should not only generate sales, but also generate electricity. Rifkin suggests equipping every available surface with solar and wind power systems - this would cover the global energy demand. In any case, the topic of ecology is becoming more important for retail. According to British law, from 2018 shopping malls that do not meet certain minimum standards may no longer be rented out. According to an analysis by the real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, only around 15 percent of British shopping centers do so so far.


The scenarios were created in collaboration with various experts:Julian Petrin is the managing director of Nexthamburg. He has been working as an urban development consultant for 15 years and founded his own company in 2009. One motive was to bring new ideas into town planning. Therefore, he works not only with experts, but with "critically constructive forward thinkers". In a city like Bremen, this group is more than 10,000 people. They took part in a survey carried out by Petrin's company on the future development of the city. In Hamburg such future dialogues led to 40 projects for which the authorities are now working on feasibility studies.Monika Walther is a freelance consultant for urban planning. The Hamburg resident analyzes the effects of shopping centers on urban trade for municipalities across Germany. In her opinion, the future of retail will continue to be determined by the competition between the large shopping malls and the classic shopping streets.Ingo Weiß is Head of Real Estate Advisory Services, Dirk Wichner Head of Retail Letting at Jones Lang LaSalle Germany. The real estate firm has $ 47 billion under management and over 240 million square feet. Weiß and Wichner predict increasing demand, especially for prime locations in metropolitan areas. However, the traders would have to come up with something new in order to generate the usual returns. Her advice: experience shopping. It is no longer a question of where people shop, but what else they can do with the opportunity. Unfortunately, the innovative spirit of many owners and shop operators is still limited. The pressure of suffering is not high enough, say Wichner and Weiß.Christian Stamerjohanns is the spokesman for ECE, which manages 185 shopping centers and is the European market leader. The trend is towards smaller and more flexible sales areas. The company is currently also investing in improving IT in the malls. The heavy concrete ceilings should no longer shield passers-by from WLAN networks. This is currently being tested in two centers in Hamburg and Essen. New ideas such as e-bike charging stations and lounges with new entertainment electronics are tried out there.


What can become of empty buildings:1. Reallocation

The cards are reshuffled and with them the areas. In France and Great Britain, quite a few people already do their grocery shopping online (see also page 80). The shopping cart is filled online and then picked up in the supermarket on the way back from the weekend trip. The workforce therefore moves from the shelves to the packing table. An increase in logistics activities is also expected in the shopping centers. Thalia started an attempt in Hamburg to offer customers in the area a book delivery service within three hours. In Seoul, Homeplus, a subsidiary of the British supermarket chain Tesco, runs a grocery store that doesn't sell a single real product. Instead, there are animated goods, orders are placed by smartphone and delivered to the front door. Instead of the refrigerated shelves there are displays.

2. Flexible walls

While Thalia opened bookstores in 2009 with areas of up to 2,000 square meters, today 500 to 600 square meters are considered the new ideal size or, according to the technical jargon, "standard space". The real estate operators have to remodel and try to attract new tenants for vacant space. The trend towards smaller stores requires flexible walls and mindsets.

In the future, there will be large areas for rent in shopping centers, for example for electronic chains, but right next door you can perhaps try the beds of a fine furniture store. Car dealerships receive their customers in a chic center instead of on the arterial road. The equipment is compiled online and the test drive begins in the parking garage. The demands are increasing for all dealers. Zero eight fifteen is no longer possible, shops are being transformed into worlds of experience by light and aroma designers. The benchmark for the value of a building is no longer the usable area, but the visitor frequency, the latter also becoming the basis for rent calculations.

3. Symbiosis

The internet never closes, most shops do. They can be used more effectively and in a more diverse way. For example, the basses of the legendary Mojo Club boom at night in two basement floors of the "Dancing Towers" on Hamburg's Reeperbahn, while the office space above is orphaned. Many houses, in which one can live, work and celebrate, offer space for such symbioses.

4. Production

The manufactory returns. Rooms that retailers no longer need are available for modern handicrafts. This uses the show effect to attract audiences and sell their goods on site and online. In addition, do-it-yourself concepts are gaining in importance. So hobbyists and tinkerers can create their own world of goods in 3-D printing shops.

5. Start small

Many properties suffer from expectations that are too great and dimensions that are too large. For the use of new areas or areas that are in danger of becoming deserted, big ideas are necessary, but also small spaces. For example, in the form of niche-like rear-side buildings - which, however, cannot be rented out at top prices, but are attractive to creative people and founders and enliven the city. -


Number of newly opened shopping centers in German cities and their sales area in square meters in 2009 12/324000

Number of newly opened shopping centers in German cities and their sales area in square meters in 2010 6/169000

Number of newly opened shopping centers in German cities and their sales area in square meters in 2011 7/196000

Number of department stores closed between 1994 and 2011 in Germany about 200

Share of online trade in total trade in 2012 according to statistics from the German Trade Association, in percent 7

Share of online trade in total trade in 2012 according to a study by Roland Berger and ECE, in percent 16

Share of online retail in total fashion retail in 2012 according to a study by Roland Berger and ECE, in percent 22

Share of purchase decisions in stationary retail without prior information, in percent 74

Share of purchasing decisions in online retail without prior information, in percent 46

Percentage of people who inform themselves in brick-and-mortar stores before making a purchase on the Internet 20

Percentage of people who inform themselves online in brick-and-mortar stores before making a purchase 17

Amount of online sales prepared in brick-and-mortar retail, in euros 6 billion

Amount of sales in brick-and-mortar retail that were prepared online, in euros 68 billion

Discontinued sales area at the bookseller Thalia since 2010, in square meters approx. 20,000

Percentage of the sales area of ​​the bookseller Weltbild that, according to a forecast from 2010, should be abandoned 40

In 2012, corrected percentage of the sales area of ​​the bookseller Weltbild that should be abandoned 50

Share of online trade in Weltbild's total turnover, in percent 40

Estimated need for additional logistics space in European retail up to 2018 in square meters: 25 000 000

Of which for companies exclusively active in online trading in square meters: 3 000 000

Estimated logistics space turnover by retail companies in Germany up to 2018 in square meters: 6 000 000

Share of storage space for e-commerce companies: 1/4