Comprehensive Publication Responds to the Overwhelming Trend of Urban Retail

This is one in a series of The Weekly articles drawing on the resources and successes of NLC's Corporate Partners.

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), an NLC Capstone Corporate Partner, recently released a special issue of its Retail Property Insights publication focusing entirely on urban retail. The thirteen article issue is available for download here.

This special issue was formed in response to the overwhelming trend of shopping center and retail (re)development in downtowns across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. The articles include discussions of how demographic and social changes, technological innovations and new economic realities are shifting shopping center and retail developments away from suburban areas towards the urban core. Other articles examine the techniques for categorizing urban markets and strategies for effectively identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for investment and growth.

One article particularly relevant to local governments is "The Value of Forging Partnerships for Urban Development", by Jim Anderson and David Fitzpatrick with DIALOG, a multi-disciplinary architectural, engineering and urban planning firm. Their article identifies strategies for increasing collaboration between retail professionals and city planners to mutually beneficial ends.

The authors begin by exploring the causes of a habitual "counter-collaborative" environment and go on to map the shared interests of both parties to uncover the overlap in which common ground can lead to productive outcomes. Case studies and key considerations are then presented to illustrate successful collaboration in practice.

In one key strategy, the authors recommend that the developer and city planners separately fill out a table of goals related to the aspirations and expectations of the project in question. Then, during initial meetings, they suggest that the parties reconcile those goals to create a shared list of interests and objectives. This shared-interest list will serve to highlight how seemingly divergent priorities overlap and can be mutually supported. As the project moves forward, this list can be used as a touch point to guide future conversations.

Through a mutual understanding of the other party's perspective and concessions on both sides, the project was completed with the best possible outcome and demonstrated successful collaboration in practice.

To read all the articles, download the full publication here.

About ICSC
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 58,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world. To learn more, visit

About the NLC Corporate Partners Program
The NLC Corporate Partners Program promotes the exchange of ideas between corporate leaders and the leaders of America's cities in order to strengthen local government, encourage economic competitiveness and promote corporate civic engagement. For more information, visit the Corporate Partners page on the NLC website.