New book and website explore the future of urban shopping in a digital age

Local shopping streets are the public face of urban communities, but they are also contested spaces of globalization and gentrification. They are the first places where most city dwellers see faces, hear languages, and find products from different parts of the world, all of which may spur feelings from strangeness to acceptance that the neighborhood is changing.

Clearly, these streets are not just places to shop; they are social spaces where local identity is formed, in an increasingly global framework.

Yet with more people shopping online, and many products made technologically obsolete by digital formats and changing consumer tastes, small shops, restaurants, and cafés that are traditional spaces of local sociability have disappeared. New cultures and lifestyles spawn yoga studios, espresso bars and “ethnic” food stores.

What does all of this mean for the urban experience? What does it mean for the city’s social, cultural, and economic diversity? Are local shopping streets, and cities, becoming more alike—or do they remain both distinctive and different?

Global Cities, Local Streets: Spaces of Everyday Diversity aims to create a community of readers and researchers around the world who are interested in these questions.

The book and website use text and images to explore the experience of local shopping street across spaces and times.

See website & photo credit.

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