Thursday, June 16, 2011

Makeshift Metropolis

Ideas About Cities
Scribner, 2010

Re-positions Jane Jacobs' insights within the 21st century dynamics of technological innovations, market forces and global economic realities.

Particularly useful case studies of successes and failures. Modi'in in Israel by Moshe Safdie. Touches on prospects for small city "university towns" -- the Santa Fe effect.
The flashy star-chitecture phenom of the last few years causes him too much concern. They build enough ROM renos like Libeskind's in Toronto and this problem will go away on its own.

Globe review here.

Excerpt on attempts to establish shopping malls in downtown settings --

Shopping malls in the suburbs thrived because shoppers could easily drive to malls and park nearby. Urban shopping malls cannot supply the same convenience: drivers have to navigate congested city streets, and parking garages are neither convenient nor free. Moreover, suburban malls are self-contained -- there isn't anywhere else to go -- whereas urban malls are surrounded by scores of competing stores, restaurants and other attractions. As a result, the financial record of urban shopping malls has been checkered. Researchers Bernard Frieden and Lynne Sagalyn suggest that while urban malls may be profitable for lenders (who incorporate high risk premiums) and merchants (since sales per square foot in urban malls are generally high, at least on the lower levels), they are not always profitable for developers, since the up-front and operating costs are much higher than in the suburbs. Nor have urban malls had the hoped-for effect of rejuvenating downtowns. Instead, the marketing strategy of grouping national name-brand stores in clean, hospitable environments had drained pedestrian and commercial life from nearby streets. The Gallery at Market East. a multilevel in downtown Philadelphia, for example, is full of shoppers, but adjacent Market Street, once the city's chief shopping street, now attracts only discount merchants and dollar stores.