Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: The long term shake out of local retailers and independent commercial districts

Detroit department store in the mid-60s. From

In this post, Richard Layman gives a great description of the changes that downtown retailing has faced over the past hundred years. He gives a great summary and links to a number of stories that go into more detail about the influences of shopping centers, chain stores, refrigeration, discounting, the decline of the small department store, eating out, “category killers,” and internet commerce have had on retail. He lists a few things about how the modern downtown retailer functions: business model extensions (i.e. a restaurant will also operate a food truck), smaller store footprints, and integrating e-commerce. While a great article, what it lacks is a “next step” section. Knowing what we know, how can we work to harness these trends, create vital mixed-use retail areas, and maybe even fix some of the damage done?


About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

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