The Changing Shopping Space in Georgia: The Influence from the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’


The Caucasus region is where the east meets the west and is known as an area in whichconflictsandopportunitiesoccursimultaneously.Thedevelopmentofthisregion used to be constricted by its geographic and political conditions. However, due to advancements in transport and the dissolution of Soviet Union, the Caucasus region has become a strategic region for development. ThisresearchfocusesonGeorgiainCaucasusduetothecountry’sintimaterelationships with many European and Asian countries. In addition, China announced that it will invest more infrastructure and capital in Georgia. Due to the influence of the Chinese ‘BeltandRoadInitiative’(B&R),Georgiaiscurrentlyundergoingmanychanges,despite discussions focusing on political or economic perspectives. With the global free market and the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, Georgia seeks to increase its economic development. Shopping space is one of the most affected spaces of development. Attributes such as the placement of shops can be analysed to indicate the change of internal public space, as shops become very Chinese style and the traditional Georgian shopping spaces gradually disappear due to the constant chasing of cash flows. As a pilot study, this research hopes to uncover potentials and threats of shopping space development in Georgia, and it aims to discover the underlying principles for the changes. Mapping and case studies are employed in the investigation. The research hopes to contribute to a healthy urban development by finding the balance between economic and spatial development.

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