District Centres and Retail Trade
A hierarchy of retail centres in Leipzig provides a wide range of shopping choices to residents and visitors alike. Ranging from convenient neighbourhood clusters to accessible district centres and the attractive city centre, the requirements of urban living are efficiently met to serve both residential areas and the region. The city council of Leipzig uses urban planning control mechanisms, based on the Urban Development Plan for Centres (STEP Zentren), to achieve the targeted development of those particular areas, or nodes. The plan provides support to investors and retail trade that strengthens existing economic clusters by offering consultation and the improvement of public space.
Shortly after Reunification, numerous large shopping centres were built on the urban periphery, accessible easily only by car. This type of development is called "greenfield" development. In total, approximately 310,000 m2 were developed in the early 1990s. The smaller district and sub-district centres, which were the focal points of service and retail near residential areas, were generally unable to compete with the large concentrations of shops that shopping malls provided.
In response, the city council passed the District Centres Plan in 1993 to structure the development of the retail nodes and the trade around them. Concurrently, it outlined the basis for urban development in competition with the regions on the periphery of Leipzig. With a few exceptions, the desired degree of development control was not achieved. Most of the new retail locations were developed outside the central core in areas along major roads that were easily accessible by car, but not necessarily by public transport.
The 1999 STEP Zentren (Centres) plan, which was updated in 2009, favoured an active approach to development planning: a graded hierarchy of centres, or nodes, which would serve residents' requirements while providing a concentration of different shops and easy access by all means of transport. An assessment of the current scope of supply of the centres and demands of local residents enabled the creation of a catalogue of strategic goals for the development of city, district and urban shopping and service centres. 'Centre Passes', which summarise the development recommendations for each centre, can be used for acquisition purposes during investment consultations. Recently, the supply of local amenities to residential areas has been improved through the modification of building laws and regulations for the management of retail trade in 2007. The strengthening of neighbourhood centres in urban development programs has also contributed to the improvement of local amenities and shopping opportunities.
Leipzig's City Centre
Since 1996, Leipzig's city centre has witnessed very dynamic development. Large-scale projects like the department stores Galeria Kaufhof and Städtisches Kaufhaus and shopping arcades, such as Petersbogen and Promenaden Hauptbahnhof, are examples of the increased shopping space. More recently, Marktgalerie and Messehaus am Markt have been added as well to the increase of retail space and, soon, the Höfe am Brühl will also add another shopping centre in the heart of Leipzig.
A diverse supply of restaurants and bars, established and newly founded cultural institutions, the construction of the new university campus, and a large number of economic activities ensure a vibrant and multifunctional city centre. The opening of the City Tunnel in 2013 will further improve local and regional connections to the city, and is expected to further strengthen the inner city.
The combination of building regulations with active acquisition (by means of the Centre Passes) and continuous monitoring encourages a development which fosters the revitalisation of urban centres. The control of the development of large-scale retail locations is of particular importance in this process. Moreover, moderation and dedicated management (e.g. management of residential areas and shopping streets) are becoming increasingly important, especially in the development of disadvantaged locations.