Shops in the city, pact between public and private against closures. 135 thousand businesses lost

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It is the first assessment of the Cities project launched by Confcommercio to combat commercial desertification which between 2012 and 2023 led to 135 thousand business closures in retail shops and street vendors. A social emergency to which Cities responds with a structured three-point contrast plan with political and collaborative initiatives but also public-private partnership actions between the Confcommercio system and local administrations following the memorandum of understanding signed with the Anci. A work with regulations and urban plans at the center to achieve the recognition of proximity economies, such as retail shops, as a service of public interest. More commitment to the valorisation of public spaces, those with shop windows and terraces, of historic shops and for the regeneration of urban commercial areas and markets.

This is where the public-private partnership between the association and the municipalities comes into play. More generally there is openness to all forms of cooperation between institutions, businesses and citizens, from collaboration agreements to commercial districts to planning, design and management projects of public spaces that can revitalize neighborhoods. We also see the necessary support added to new and existing activities with ad hoc measures such as reliefs, contributions and financing. In all that blends with omnichannel.

Commercial districts play a key role. «Many regions have legislated on districts – recalls Paolo Testa, head of the urban planning and urban regeneration sector of Confcommercio -. In Bari, for example, shopkeepers together with the Municipality organize promotional actions, events and to qualify the mix of the offer”. To support Confcommercio’s projects, OpenCities was created, a digital platform dedicated to cities and urban economies, with the aim of promoting exchange and collective learning by configuring itself as a virtual space to share ideas, knowledge, projects and strategies.

As part of the Cities project, experiments on specific themes have been implemented. We range, for example, from the «Innovative public space» project of Confcommercio Milano Lodi Monza Brianza to the reactivation of vacant spaces to make them new attractors of the commercial axes and revitalize the territorial area of ​​Parma while that of Florence and Arezzo with the «Tourism» construction site , identity and balance” addresses nightlife in an interdisciplinary way while in Palermo the focus is on the discipline of commerce in the historic center to contain the impacts of tourist flows.

The field of work is the territory, the neighborhood and Confcommercio together with the Tagliacarne Institute has developed the «Service index» which measures the accessibility to local services to quantify which can be reached within a 15 minute walk from the citizens’ residence. In this project it must also be considered that cities risk encountering unsustainable imbalances between generations but the quality of services and the cultural and commercial offer are considered strong factors in contrasting these phenomena. Cities that face significant flows of tourists that impact urban liveability, the commercial offer and tourist attractiveness itself.

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