Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development


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Some of these have evolved into regional cities that offer advanced and unique products and services to sets of towns in their orbit. And finally, and as world trade and political power have been consolidated under the influence of larger nations, metropolitan centers grow in locations that maximize commercial exchange. Crucially, every one of these settlement types includes a commercial dimension; the larger and more complex the settlement, the larger its markets and the more extensive its commercial prominence.

The residents of hamlets and small towns can sustain themselves by access to small local stores. Town stores serve the needs of their residents as well as those of smaller surrounding settlements. City stores service their residents and are available to fulfill the shopping needs of the residents of the towns surrounding them. Metropolitan centers cater to the tastes and needs of the citizens within their region in consuming both local and imported goods from all over the world. The influence of commercial and retail activity on the specific physical character of all of these traditional settlement types is pervasive.

The retail trade thrives in locations that are accessible and visible. The transportation of goods to the market, and of people to specific marketplaces, demands appropriate transportation networks. Buying and selling is public-space- and mixed-use-building sensitive.

An Introduction to Urban Design: Principles of Urban Design

The dimensions, character and scale of public space, including thoroughfares, attracts people to visit and to revisit, not only for the benefit of a purchase or two, but also to engage in social interaction and entertainment. Continuous ground floors of buildings presented as stores satiate the human need for convenience and variety. The act of buying and selling over time generates a highly entrepreneurial population.

A successful commercial sector advances the prosperity of municipalities and the regions surrounding them. This tried and true pattern of urbanism was challenged and heavily disturbed post by a novel theory of city-making that emphasized the prominence of the automobile over pedestrians, the use of land by large swaths of isolated singular activities, the design of oversized buildings for single use, the erosion of public space and the concentration of commercial activity in the hands of corporations rather than single store owners.

Over the next fifty years, this development theory, based on the modernist urbanism then in fashion, was implemented through two interrelated strategies: large-scale, capital-intensive, brand-store-centered shopping centers were located in open suburban sites and precipitated a massive exodus of urbanites to the suburbs.

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They may have not been the root cause of sprawl, but certainly became a key dimension of the vast scale and short-term economic success of suburbia. Sprawl hastened the abandonment of main streets and city centers with their small-scale, personal and diverse retail and commercial offerings, in favor of peripheral chain store malls.

The attempt to fix this decline through urban renewal turned out to be even more devastating. It resulted in the massive demolition of the traditional commercial centers and the economic collapse of the core of almost every major American city.

New Urbanism: Principles for Urban Retail Planning

Since the early s a set of new ideas have come to dominate the American planning and development scene. Under a variety of names—The New Urbanism, Smart Growth, Livable Cities—a small number of responsible professionals in many allied fields have banded together to frame a new theory and practice for regenerating American cities and undoing the damage of Modernist urbanism.

According to this movement, stopping the patterns of sprawl development, safeguarding the open countryside and infilling within existing metropolitan boundaries are the key objectives for maintaining the character, vitality and economic prominence of cities. His contributions to this cause as an author and consultant have been remarkable. Gibbs is by far the most prominent advocate for reforming retail planning and development in order to return American cities to economic and physical prominence.

Written by a leading expert, this is a guide to planning for retail development for urban planners, urban designers and architects. It includes an overview of history of retail design, a look at retail and merchandising trends, and principles for current retail developments.


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Robert Gibbs Birmingham, Michigan. Over the last two decades, Robert J. Gibbs has carved out a niche as one of the nation's foremost urban retail consultants. President of Gibbs Planning Group GPG , and a founding member of the Congress for New Urbanism, Gibbs is at the forefront of the industry in his ability to successfully distil retail and merchandising principles for reviving retail in moribund downtowns and for instilling successful commerce in new ones.

GPG has provided residential and commercial development consulting services to more than communities, helping to develop and redevelop over cities and new centers across North America, the Pacific Rim and the Caribbean. Gibbs, a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, looks at what it takes to build a shopping center that thrives. He outlines every ingredient, from business models.

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Gibbs conveys his expertise with rigorous clarity. This guide should prove invaluable for anyone who wants to do retail in a way that adds to a community's character and also makes economic sense. But the material it contains will also be helpful to public planners dealing with zoning issues. Convert currency.


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Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development
Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development
Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development
Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development
Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development

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