There is still considerable research deficit with regard to the post-socialist retail trade research and the geographic research of major cities in Eastern Central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, this article will attempt to state a summary of the most important, determining factors for the current changes in structure and regional function in the core areas of the Eastern Central and Eastern European major cities, and to typify the transformation in the city centre location patterns of retail trade. In th is context, the initial thesis is that new developments of company forms and city centre location patterns in retail trade which are manifest in Eastern Central and Eastern Europe are essentially determined by complex issues of company structures and regional factors. The influential factors of company structure are a) the course and results of transformation in ownership laws in retail trade, effected by both privatisation measures and the establishment of new companies, b) the general economic (endogenous and exogenous) framework which follows the privat isation and/or new establishment of companies and which decide the further development of retail trade and c) the transformation of the real estate and property markets. The three regional determinants, which are responsible for the changes in the location pattern in retail trade and for the transformation of the functional order of the city centre, refer to a) the structure and function of the existing building substance and the possibilities for its use in retail trade, b) competition with other locations of retail trade inside and outside of the city and c) the scope of private use and/or suitability of public space for use by informal retail trade such as kiosks and market stalls. Five different types of new location pattern in city centre retail trade and current regional changes in the cities of Eastern Central and Eastern Europe can be identified: 1.) A regionally disorganised location pattern with barely distinct hierarchical areas of function, for example in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 2.) City centres with clear tendencies of alignment to Central European city structures, such as in Prague or Budapest. 3.) The city centre retail trade st ructures in the new Federal states (former GDR), which are characterised in part by extreme exclusiveness and in part by a banalisation of the range of goods, and which are in very extreme competition with expansive, non-integrated retail trade which has developed outside of the cities. 4.) Relatively autochtonous / independent development within city centre retail trade, with a general formation of hierarchical location patterns, e.g. in Riga (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia) and many large Polish cities. 5.) Relatively autochtonous development within city centre retail trade, without a general formation of hierarchical location patterns, e.g. in Vilnius (Lithuania)
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