The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Mall

Once considered a radical development in urban design, shopping malls are falling into disrepair across the US. Callum Glennen talks to Bob Gibbs as he  investigates their rise, their fall, and what the future holds for American retail.













10 Great American Shopping Streets

Only a few years ago, cities were declaring their downtowns dead, victims of regional shopping malls, online retailers and suburban sprawl. But some urban shopping districts have come back big time. “They have what I call the X-Factor of Urbanism. Very cool, historic and filled with interesting shops and restaurants, surrounded with walkable neighborhoods,” says Robert Gibbs, an urban planner who has worked with 300 cities and teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He says vacationers spend more time shopping than on any other vacation activity, making these neighborhoods natural for travelers. He shares some favorite downtown districts with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.



On the House: ‘New urbanist’ Communities Still Run into Roadblocks

Twenty-five years ago, Robert Gibbs spoke at the First Congress of New Urbanism, a landmark event that helped solidify principles of "new urbanist" communities, such as conventional street layouts, a mixture of uses, walkable neighborhoods and traditional architecture.

 Since then, dozens of such communities have been completed, including well-known examples Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland. Dozens more are on the drawing board, among them Evans Farm, a 1,400-acre development planned in Delaware County's Orange and Berlin townships.

Despite the successes of the movement, Gibbs continues to find the new urbanist ship hard to steer. Read more...












How Metro Detroit's car-oriented suburbs are implementing a 'new American dream'

News 2017

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Getting downtown vibe: Troy, other communities aim to create walkable, urban areas amid sprawl

The City of Troy's city council and planning commission have come to a consensus on a master plan for the area that involves the development of what Robert Gibbs, the urban planner and landscape architect on the project, likened to Troy's version of downtown Birmingham, fresh out of the City Beautiful planning movement of the 1920s that built downtowns around civic buildings. "The overall goal is to give Troy a downtown that they never had," Gibbs said. Read more...










Great Idea: Mixed Use Urban Centers

Public Square editor Robert Steuteville interviewed planner and landscape architect Robert Gibbs, author of Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development, and architect and urban designer Seth Harry, expert on sustainable commerce, on the challenges of mixed-use urban centers. Read here...

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