The death and life of Malmi neighbourhood shopping street: is ethnic retail a catalyst for public life recovery in Helsinki?

Hossam Hewidy*, Johanna Lilius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Chain stores have changed the retail landscape leading to the decline of small independent retail. Consequently, public street life on shopping streets is fading, and many premises have been left vacant during the past decade. However, in Finland, such transformation in the retail landscape coincides with the rapid growth of ethnic retail in some Helsinki neighbourhoods, such as Malmi, an area undergoing major urban renewal. The aim of this research is to study the current condition of Malmi public life and to investigate the capacity of ethnic retail to enhance it. Another aim is to examine how ethnic retail has been reflected in deploying scenario planning. The paper argues that ethnic retail has an evident role in improving vitality. The city of Helsinki showed willingness to integrate ethnic retail in its vision for developing the area, but with some shortcomings. The study recommends that ethnic retailers in Malmi, and similar areas, should be recognized for their role in formulating ethnic identities and reinforcing public street life. As such, the paper contributes to literature on urban renewal and space identity with a focus on future uncertainties facing small retailers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-358
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Volume30
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • ethnic retail
  • multiculturalism
  • place-re-making
  • Public street life
  • scenario planning

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