From Urban Shop to New City

Alex wall

Victor Gruen is the commercial architect who became renowned in 1950s America as the “pioneer of the shopping center”, then by his urban redevelopment projects as the “savior of the downtowns,” and by the mid-1960s as the “architect of the environment.”

From Urban Shop to New City focuses on Gruen’s theories and projects, especially with respect to the terms that he set for himself: the return of the city center and urban public space as the focus of the social and cultural life of the region. The context for his vision, however, was the “triumph” of the suburbs and the collapse of the American downtowns. Gruen’s successes and failures engaged or prefigured every important commercial retail, development, and planning trend since World War II; thus his work is a crucial vehicle for understanding the transformation of American city-scape and landscape, and is a starting point for asking the question: What kind of city do we want?

© Actar Publishers

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