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Retail Dynamics in the Toronto Underground System: 1993-1997


Retail Dynamics in the Toronto Underground System: 1993-1997

By Dr. Ken Jones

The Toronto underground is an example of one type of planned inner city retail environment.  These can take a variety of forms and operate on a number of scales.

North American examples include: underground systems (e.g., Montreal, Toronto and Chicago); skyways (e.g., Minneapolis-St. Paul and Calgary's 15 plus) or multi-level paths (e.g., Edmonton Pedway and Winnipeg Walkway).  However, despite these structural variations, each of these planned retail-pedestrian complexes is a reflection of and a response to a complex set of environmental, economic, infra-structural and socio-political realities in which they are embedded.

This report iniially examines the changing retail structure of the Toronto underground system over the 1993-98 period.  The focus of this section will be on the characteristics of the tenant mix of this retail environment. Then the paper will examine three indicators of retail dynamics - retail turnovers; vacancy rates; and stability coefficients.  Finally the report will examine the degree of spatial variation in the retail structure of the underground system.  This empirical analysis is based on data collected by the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity.  Since 1993, CSCA has tracked annual changes in the tenant mix in the Toronto underground mall system on a regular basis. 

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