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Volume XIII |

Globalisation and Urban Spatial Reconversion. Case-Study: Commercial Services in Romania

Abstract: The ever-growing concentration of income in the capital-city and in major towns has encouraged the development of a series of specialized products and services and the opening of commercial units. The only limit to this type of localization seems to be the continuous social segregation which restricts demand and creates preferential segments of users. New types of urban-rural polarisation are created, directly proportional to the social and cultural segregation and polarisation that condition the Romanian urban system’s capacity to absorb globalizing fluxes. Thus, strong financial segregation among the urban population in the wake of restructuring industrial activities restricts the penetration of globalizing fluxes. Even if the products of the consumerist culture are intensely penetrating at local level, yet the population’s access to them is still limited. Global culture tends to combine with endemic culture, grafted on poverty, deteriorating the quality of life and stimulating urban subculture and organised crime. Financial investments constitute the basis of the spatial distribution of commercial investments. The outlet market potential is the decisive factor for commercial investments, that is chains of stores usually set up by transnational companies. The establishment and diffusion of these commercial units in the territory is closely correlated with the location of banks, dependent on the income-based spatial segregation of the population. Thus, big commercial units are more frequently found in large cities with macro-regional polarisation functions and a positive economic dynamic that ensures the presence of an outlet market competitive enough both financially and quantitatively, so as to guarantee that the investment is profitable. On the other hand, the east/west financial segregation existing in Romania directly reflects segregated localisation of commercial investments which are placed mostly in Bucharest and the large cities from the central and western regions of the country – Transylvania, Banat and Crişana.