Legislative Tools for Preserving Town Centres and Halting the Spread of Hypermarkets and Malls Outside of Cities:  Land Use Legislation and Controls of Conflicts of Interest in Land Use Decision Making

Throughout Europe, the past few decades have been characterized by retail sprawl — the spread of hypermarkets and of large shopping malls outside of city centers, undermining the traditional center city focus of West European shopping. In response to these trends, legislation controlling the location of large retail development has become widespread. Such legislation has been motivated by the objectives of maintaining the vitality of urban centers, maintaining the accessibility of shopping for all income and age groups, and reducing traffic and its associated adverse effects on the environment.

The purpose of this report is to describe this legislation, with the aim of providing concepts and models for Central and Eastern European (CEE) planners and organizations which are interested in addressing retail location issues and curbing developments which generate sprawl and have negative environmental effects on urban areas.

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