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The Composition and Functioning of Retail Areas

Lugomer, Karlo; (2019) The Composition and Functioning of Retail Areas. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Urban retail areas are prone to constant structural and functional changes. These dynamics are at the same time recorded and reinforced by technological advances that have supplemented traditional data sources such as censuses and small area surveys with more spatially and temporally granular consumer data. At the same time, modelling methods based on aggregate spatial interactions are being displaced by micro-location methods. A direct consequence of such developments is the emergent capability of retail analysts to track how characteristics of retail areas change on a more frequent basis, in something approaching real time. This thesis makes use of the Local Data Company’s expansive and annually updated inventory of retail unit occupancy and a major Wi-Fi sensor footfall database which continuously records the number of passers-by at over 600 locations throughout Great Britain at five-minute temporal resolution. The sensors have been placed using an agreed sample design, which guided the focus of the research towards urban high streets and shopping centres. The analytical part of this thesis begins by describing the structural characteristics of the British retail economy and its changes throughout the post-recession years. The signals received by the Wi-Fi sensors are assessed, validated using robust data cleaning and ground-truthing methods to create reliable footfall estimates. Next, the temporal variations of footfall at different microsite locations are analysed, and classification of diurnal human activity patterns is developed for sites across Great Britain. Finally, the two main datasets are combined to discover how local retail composition and footfall are interrelated, which results in the development of a unified functional classification of microsite locations. This thesis contributes to our understanding of how retail areas work and change, with the goal of developing recommendations for improving both their management and the operational and strategic performance of the businesses located within them.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Composition and Functioning of Retail Areas
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: footfall, human activity patterns, retail areas, retail classification, temporal classification, Smart City, Big Data, retail geography, Wi-Fi sensors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080797
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