Victor Gruen

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pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell


barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

Hanchchett traces the explosion in shopping malls to a loophole in the tax code that allowed for “accelerated depreciation,” which transformed real estate development into a lucrative tax shelter for developers. 91 avoid angering full-price retailers: Parke Chapman, “Bargain Hunters Keep Outlet Malls Humming,” National Retail Estate Investor 45, no. 4 (2003): 15. 92 “sky and landscape seemed to dance”: Zola modeled his fictional store after Le Bon Marche in Paris. Opened in 1852, it is widely referred to as the first modern department store. 92 “phobia of entering a store”: M. Jeffrey Hardwick, Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 32. 93 with brightly colored birds: Biographical information on Victor Gruen was obtained in “Victor Gruen: A Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress,” prepared by Harry G. Heiss, 1995. Available at; Malcolm Gladwell, “The Terrazzo Jungle,” The New Yorker, March 15, 2004. Gladwell cites M. Jeffrey Hartwick’s biography of Gruen, Mall Maker, as an important source for his piece. 93 malls would be modeled and are still: Margaret Growford, “Suburban Life and Public Space,” in David J.

IN HIS NOVEL Au Bonheur des Dames, detailing the rise of a fictional department store in nineteenth-century Paris, Emile Zola painstakingly describes the mostly female clientele swooning over the store’s luxurious settings: “all the velvets, black, white, colored, interwoven with silk or satin, scooping out with their shifting marks a motionless lake on which reflections of sky and landscape seemed to dance.” Few if any shopping centers today can boast of velvet lakes, but many strive to offer at least the impression of luxury: soaring atriums, fashion shows, valet parking, a jazz band or high school choir performing on Sunday afternoon. The purpose of this embellishment is to seduce clients, to lure them in and set them up for the sale. Similar efforts stretch back half a century to the work of Victor Gruen, the undisputed father of the modern shopping mall. Gruen’s mark on America’s shopping landscape is as indelible as it was unexpected. Born and bred in the fabled elegance of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Gruen was a talented student destined for a life in the arts. An intellectual and aesthetic, he graduated from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, the venerable institution that rejected fledgling painter Adolf Hitler twice.

But between Gruen’s first triumph in Detroit and the shopping mall boom of the 1960s, consumer attitudes had shifted; consumerism was no longer just one among many forces driving change; it was the driving force. Gruen’s rosy optimism gradually soured as he watched his dream towns co-opted into symbols of suburban isolation and commercial manipulation. He returned to Austria in 1967, not heart-broken, exactly, but chastened and eager to redeem his legacy. He founded the Victor Gruen Foundation for Environmental Planning, based in Los Angeles, and its sister organization, Zentrum für Umweltplanung, in Vienna to promote environmental education for the improvement and protection of natural resources in urban areas. Gruen’s mark on the retail landscape was indelible. With their soaring atriums and sculpted gardens and cafés, his generous spaces tempted visitors to linger, and that was the point.

pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer,, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

But the design of this structure would define its era every bit as much as Boucicaut’s temple did, for this unremarkable building—practically indistinguishable from the shopping complexes and office parks that surround it on all sides—is Southdale Center, America’s first mall. Today malls have a mostly well-deserved reputation for being the ugly stepchild of consumer capitalism, but their intellectual lineage is more complex than most people realize. While it would come to epitomize the cultural wasteland of postwar suburbia, the shopping mall turns out to have been the brainchild of an avant-garde European socialist named Victor Gruen. Born in Vienna around the turn of the century, Gruen grew up, as his biographer M. Jeffrey Hardwick put it, “in the dying embers of [Vienna’s] vibrant, aesthetic life.” He studied architecture at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, working under the socialist urban planners then in vogue, and performing in cabarets at night. He built up a fledgling practice designing storefronts on the fashionable streets of Vienna, not unlike the original merchants in Ludgate Hill so many years before, and he designed—but never built—one large-scale project for public housing, which he dubbed “The People’s Palace.”

The new storefronts delighted consumers and merchants alike, though critics like Lewis Mumford grumbled that the facades captured their customers the way “a pitcher plant captures flies or an old-style mousetrap catches mice.” During the 1940s, Gruen’s design practice boomed; he built dozens of department stores across the country. Echoing Le Corbusier’s famous line about a house being a “machine for living,” Gruen began calling his store environments “machines for selling.” Victor Gruen Yet Gruen never fully left his Viennese radical upbringing and its faith in the potential of large-scale planned communities. He hated the noisy, crass commercialism of unregulated spaces. He had an urbane European’s disdain for American suburbia. In the late 1950s, Gruen gave a speech in which he denounced the banal landscapes of the postwar suburbs, calling them “avenues of horror . . . flanked by the greatest collection of vulgarity—billboards, motels, gas stations, shanties, car lots, miscellaneous industrial equipment, hot dog stands, wayside stores—ever collected by mankind.”

“What’s necessary”: Quoted in Elaine Showalter’s introduction to Émile Zola, Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Delight), trans. Robin Buss (New York: Penguin Classics, 2007), 415. “Dazzling and sensuous, the Bon Marché”: Michael Miller, The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869–1920 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981), 162. “department store thefts”: Quoted in Miller, 202–8. “a pitcher plant”: Quoted in M. Jeffrey Hardwick, Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 33. “avenues of horror”: Quoted in Malcolm Gladwell, “The Terrazzo Jungle. Fifty Years Ago, the Mall Was Born. America Would Never Be the Same,” The New Yorker 15 (2004). “Southdale was not a suburban alternative”: Ibid. “The service done by the Fort Worth”: Quoted in Hardwick, 181. “giant shopping machine”: Quoted in Hardwick, 211.

pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher


Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, commoditize, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional, Zipcar

This order, she wrote, is “composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance—not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with new improvisations.” Raymond Tucker, the mayor of St. Louis: Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, p. 270. Even Victor Gruen: M. Jeffrey Hardwick, Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). In a speech Gruen gave in London in 1978 called “The Sad Story of Shopping Centres,” he further explained that Americans had corrupted his vision. Speaking of a “tragic downgrading of quality,” he said the American pursuit of profits had derailed his vision and that the public should protest the further construction of shopping centers.

Louis from 1953 to 1965, commented that there wasn’t enough room to enable the new housing landscape that policy makers had in mind without causing serious damage to society. “The plain fact of the matter is that we just cannot build enough lanes of highways to move all of our people by private automobile and create enough parking space to store the cars without completely paving over our cities and removing all of the . . . economic, social, and cultural establishments that the people were trying to reach in the first place,” he said. Even Victor Gruen, the Austrian-born architect considered the inventor of the modern-day shopping mall, soon came to abhor the impact of his creation, describing them as early as 1978 as “land-wasting seas of parking.” Whatever the critics say, it is important to note that there is, of course, a tremendous amount of appeal in suburban life. On a fundamental level, trees and grass and quiet calm are extremely inviting to humans, and it’s understandable how someone who works hard in the city would want to commute home to a quiet, residential street and a house with no shared walls.

pages: 313 words: 92,053

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, megastructure, more computing power than Apollo, Oculus Rift, Peter Eisenman, RFID, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, sentiment analysis, smart cities, the built environment, theory of mind, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

The first of these, describing her remarkable early life and some of her insights about animals, is Emergence: Labeled Autistic (Grand Central Publishing, New York, 1996). 13Bill Friedman’s bible of casino design is Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition: The Friedman International Standards of Casino Design (Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, Las Vegas, 2000). 14Karen Finlay’s group at the University of Guelph have explored the effects of casino design on impulsivity in gambling and the role of gender in an article titled “Casino Décor Effects on Gambling Emotions and Intentions,” published in Environment and Behavior (2009, Volume 42, pages 542–545). 15M. Jeffrey Hardwick has explored Victor Gruen’s fascinating life in his book Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2003). Malcolm Gladwell wrote about Gruen’s influence on American architecture in an article in the New Yorker titled “The Terrazzo Jungle,” published in the March 15, 2004 issue. Available at: 16The role of affect in impulse purchasing is described in a 2008 paper by David Silvera, Anne Lavack and Fredric Kropp, titled “Impulse Buying: The Role of Affect, Social Influence, and Subjective Wellbeing,” in the Journal of Consumer Marketing (2008, Volume 25, pages 23–33). 17The neurochemistry of impulsivity in rats is described in an article by Marcel van Gaalen, Reinout van Koten, Anton Schoffelmeer and Louk Vanderschuren in an article titled “Critical Involvement of Dopaminergic Neurotransmission in Impulsive Decision Making,” in Biological Psychiatry (2006, Volume 60, pages 66–73). 18A wealth of information about Paul Ekman and his current work on the use of facial expression analysis—an approach that he pioneered in a fruitful life work, is described at his website:

Selfridge insisted on close contact between shoppers and the wares available at the store, fastidious customer service, and physical design elements such as comfortable furnishings, extensive glass cabinetry that made the wares easy to see, and exciting exhibitions (for example, an entire airplane was once on display inside Selfridge’s), all of which, reminiscent of some of the design features of modern casinos, were intended to keep the shopper inside the store for as long as possible. Some of the same kinds of design principles were invoked in the first shopping malls—very much an American invention and owing much to the architectural practice and theory of one remarkable individual, the Austrian architect Victor Gruen. Gruen fled pre–World War II Vienna as a young man and recent trainee in architecture and made his way to New York City, where he worked for some time as a cabaret performer. He won a small design job for an acquaintance who owned a Fifth Avenue leather goods shop in which he rethought the display elements in such a way as to break the mold of the fashion of the times—monolithic and impermeable street façades more like today’s bank headquarters than alluring retail establishments.

pages: 411 words: 80,925

What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers


Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation,, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Mindless spending is the “I don’t know what I spent my money on” type of spending that can take the form of aimlessly wandering around the shopping mall or popping into shops on your lunch hour and coming home with things you never intended to buy. The moment when a person shifts from being a conscious consumer shopping for a specific item to an impulse buyer has been named the Gruen Transfer, after architect Victor Gruen, who constructed the first shopping mall in 1956.29 Gruen’s original vision for the mall was to create an “idyllic shopping environment” and a “kernel of the community”—a grand plan far removed from the disorienting and sprawling maze we experience today. Latest and greatest spending translates into “I’ve got to get it because it is bigger (or smaller), better, faster, or even just newer.” In most instances the existing product still functions; nevertheless it cannot fulfill our desire to have the latest version available.

Diderot, Denis Diderot Effect Dim Dom Diners Club disposable goods mass production of obsolescence and diversified access Dixie Cups dolphins, as collaborative Duvall, Richard Dyfedpotter Easterbrook, Greg eBay Ecology of Commerce, The (Hawken) Economist Eco-Patent Commons Eldredge, Niles Ellmer, Rich enhanced communications environmental impacts: of consumerism of critical mass of dematerialization of redistribution markets of reuse and recycling Etsy extended-life PSS Facebook fairness Fake, Caterina farmers’ markets farming and gardening FarmVille Fast Company Fenton, Casey Fight Club Flanner, Ben Flickr fluidity of use food economy, collaborative shifts in Ford, Bill Ford, Henry Ford Motor Company Forshaw, Rob Fournier, Susan Foursquare Freecycle Freud, Sigmund Friedman, Milton Friedman, Thomas From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Turner) Fromm, Erich FutureShop (Nissanoff) Gallop, Cindy GDP fetishism Gebbia, Joe General Electric General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, A (Freud) General Motors Gettaround Gill, Rosemary Gladwell, Malcolm GNU project Goetz, Thomas GoGet GoLoco Goodwin, Liz Gorenflo, Neal Gould, Stephen Jay Gourdeau, Michel Great Depression Great Pacific Garbage Patch Great Washing Machine Debate Green Party (UK) Growing Chefs Gruen, Victor Gruen Transfer Guiry, Michael Güth, Werner Haidt, Jonathan Hamilton, Clive Hamilton Credit Corporation happiness, linked to consumption see also Haidt, Jonathon Haque, Umair Hardin, Garrett Hastings, Reed Hat Factory Hawken, Paul HearPlanet Heiferman, Scott Heinla, Ahti Hexamer, Mark Hierarchy of Needs Hill, Yvonne Hoffer, Dan Homer, Chris Howe, Jeff Hub Culture Hughes, Chris Humphrey, Stephen Hunnicutt, Benjamin Hunt, Bertha Hunt, Tara Huxley, Aldous Hyatt Rolling hyper-consumption rise of satisfaction and see also consumerism; materialism idling capacity individualism, ownership and Industrial Revolution In the Bubble (Thackara) Intel Interface Internet: bartering efficiently on collaborative lifestyles and community re-establishment via dematerialization of goods via as democratic and decentralized and evolution of collaborative consumption idling capacity and mass collaboration on as modern commons peer-to-peer markets on reputation trail on swap trading expanded by transaction costs cut by iPod Irby, Weldon ITEX iTunes Jarvis, Jeff Jeffreys, Bruce Jevons, William Stanley Jordan, Chris Jumo Just One More Factor Kalin, Rob Kaminsky, Peter Kellogg, W.

The death and life of great American cities by Jane Jacobs


City Beautiful movement, Golden Gate Park, Gunnar Myrdal, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen

To NEW YORK CITY where I came to seek my fortune and found it by finding Bob, Jimmy, Ned and Mary for whom this book is written too Acknowledgment So many scores of persons helped me with this book, wittingl and unwittingly, that I shall never fully be able to acknowleds the appreciation I owe and feel. In particular I am grateful fc information, aid or criticism given by the following person Saul AUnsky, Norris C. Andrews, Edmund Bacon, June Blyth John Decker Butzner, Jr., Henry Churchill, Grady Clay, Williai C. Crow, Vernon De Mars, Monsignor John J. Egan, Charl( Famsley, Carl Feiss, Robert B. Filley, Mrs. Rosario Folino, Cha< bourne Gilpatric, Victor Gruen, Frank Havey, Goldie HoflFma Frank Hotchkiss, Leticia Kent, William H. Kirk, Mr. and Mr George Kostritsky, Jay Landesman, The Rev. Wilbur C. Lead Glennie M. Lenear, Melvin F. Levine, Edward Logue, Elk Lurie, Elizabeth Manson, Roger Montgomery, Richard Nelso Joseph Passonneau, Ellen Perry, Rose Porter, Ansel Robiso James W. Rouse, Samuel A. Spiegel, Stanley B. Tankel, Jack Vol) man, Robert C.

Nowadays there is a myth that city streets, so patently inadequate for floods of automobiles, are antiquated vestiges of horse-and-buggy conditions, suitable to the traffic of their time, but . . . Nothing could be less true. To be sure, the streets of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century cities were usually well adapted, as streets, to the uses of people afoot and to the mutual support of the mingled uses bordering them. But they were miserably adapted, as streets, to horse traffic, and this in turn made them poorly adapted in many ways to foot traffic too. Victor Gruen, who devised a plan for an automobile-free downtown for Fort Worth, Texas, about which I shall say more later in this chapter, prepared a series of slides to explain his scheme. After a view of a street with a familiar-looking automobile jam, he showed a surprise: just about as bad a jam of horses and vehicles in an old photograph of Fort Worth. What street life was like for really big and intense cities and their users in the horse-and-buggy days has been described by an English architect, the late H.

But such schemes are only practical, in any case, if they presuppose a spectacular decline in the absolute numbers of automobiles using a city. Otherwise, the necessary parking, garaging and access arteries around the pedestrian preserves reach such unwieldy and deadening proportions that they become arrangements capable only of city disintegration, not of city saving. The most famous of pedestrian schemes is the Gruen plan for the downtown of Fort Worth. The firm of Victor Gruen Associates, architects and planners, proposed that an area of roughly a square mile be circled with a ring road feeding into six huge, oblong garages, holding ten thousand cars each, which would each penetrate from the ring-road perimeter deep into the downtown area. The rest of the area would be kept free of automobiles and would be intensively developed as a downtown of mixed uses. The scheme has run into political opposition in Fort Worth, but imitative plans have been proposed for more than ninety cities and have been tried in a few.

pages: 441 words: 135,176

The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--And Their Architects--Shape the World by Deyan Sudjic


Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, megastructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, urban planning, urban renewal, V2 rocket, Victor Gruen

Reza Khan was deposed by the British in 1941 when he started to become too close to Hitler’s Germany and began trying to play the Allies off against the Axis powers. But his son Mohammed Reza, installed with CIA help after his father abdicated, turned out to be even more interested in building. And, as the country’s oil reserves accumulated, he had the money to indulge his passion. In 1968 the new Shah commissioned Victor Gruen, the inventor of the modern shopping mall, to devise a strategy for Tehran’s future growth. Gruen identified an area of vacant land to the north of the city as a future government centre. Lord Llewelyn-Davies won the commission to plan this vast tract of empty land in detail, after an invited competition in 1975. The submissions were presented to the Shah while he was on a skiing holiday. He was said to have come down from a morning on the slopes to see all the competing models, laid out side by side for his inspection.

He did however accept the invitation of Jean Chrétien, Canada’s prime minister – issued, so Gehry says, in the middle of a long-distance telephone conversation about ice hockey – to take up Canadian citizenship again. Like that of Louis Kahn or I. M. Pei, Gehry’s early architectural career gave few clues of what was to come. In between designing apartment buildings, jewellery stores and shopping centres for Victor Gruen, in what can only be called a commercial vernacular, Gehry started experimenting with cardboard furniture. His obsession with fish imagery in the 1980s, which included building a restaurant in Japan in the shape of a giant carp and creating a fish out of a cloud of steel mesh on the Barcelona waterfront, seemed to suggest that something Jungian and out of the ordinary was about to emerge. But it wasn’t until he reached 50 that he built anything of real power.

pages: 423 words: 129,831

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift


1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, big-box store, blue-collar work, Donner party, edge city, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, side project, smart transportation, traveling salesman, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

It wasn't just households moving out. The Urban Land Institute observed that during the postwar boom, from 1948 to 1954, retail sales grew by 23 percent in central cities, and by a whopping 59 percent outside of them. In October 1956, Southdale, the world's first fully enclosed, climate-controlled shopping mall, opened in Edina, Minnesota, outside the Twin Cities.* Its architect, Austrian-born Victor Gruen, also opened three big suburban shopping centers that helped remake metropolitan Detroit. A month after Southdale's debut, Business Week worried there might be too many shopping centers in the suburbs. The ink on Ike's signature had barely dried. A city's circumferential interstate, the big ring road on which traffic orbited fifteen or twenty miles out of downtown, was usually among the first urban legs on which construction started.

Combine the suburbs' low-density housing with jobs scattered hither and yon, and no transit system—certainly not one on fixed rails, anyway—could do much to relieve dependence on the automobile, even if allowed to operate deep in the red. A few cities, notably San Francisco and Washington,D.C.,studied light rail or subway systems, regardless. Some others considered more radical fixes to their clogged streets. When utility officials in Fort Worth hired shopping mall pioneer Victor Gruen to rethink the city's downtown, he responded by banning cars altogether. Residents would drive to a beltway around the central business district, where they would park in one of a half-dozen huge garages, none more than three or four minutes' walk from dead center, and hoof it the rest of the way to jobs or stores. Electric shuttle cars would move those unable to walk, and deliveries would be made underground.

pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff


affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, peer-to-peer, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional, zero-sum game

The Chinese restaurant offered a self-contained black-lacquered and paper-lanterned world that bore no more resemblance to China than the horseshoes on the wall of a steak house had to cattle ranching, but such simulacra gave weary suburbanites ways to identify their experiences and who was providing them. This consumption was desocializing. A family might travel a whole day by car to visit just two or three of these simulated meccas, leaving at least one member dissatisfied. The only public space encountered between shopping experiences was the highway. An Austrian architect named Victor Gruen saw a better way. Having foreseen the loss of cultural values Americans would suffer as a result of this decentralized shopping experience, he envisioned a way to re-create Main Street and the civility it promoted. His innovation, what we now call the shopping mall, was first introduced in 1956 to an affluent suburb of Minneapolis called Southdale. The Southdale Center brought together dozens of different retailers under one climate-controlled roof.

Start with Gregory Zuckerman, “Trader Made Billions on Subprime,” The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2008, Business section. 72 Membership in civic organizations Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). 78 The Chinese restaurant offered Ada Louise Huxtable, The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion (New York: The New Press, 1999). 78 An Austrian architect named Victor Gruen Douglas Rushkoff, Coercion (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1999). 82 The more a town Elizabeth Currid, The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2007). CHAPTER FOUR Individually Wrapped 91 This idea inspired many poets Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self- Fashioning (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980). 91 Perspective painting meant Jan Goldstein, The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).

pages: 268 words: 112,708

Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell


1960s counterculture, AltaVista, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, commoditize, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Of these, nearly 2,000 were regional malls larger than 400,000 square feet; 379 were supermalls of more than a million square feet.34 From the mid-1950s, the mall builders hired the best architects and elaborated the shopping-center form. The basic mall model was composed of small stores clustered around big anchor retailers, and unified by leasing policy. In 1956, the Viennese-born architect Victor Gruen introduced the idea of the indoor, inward-facing, climate-controlled environment at Southdale Plaza in Edina, Minnesota, a weatherproofed reproduction of the center city. As the mall form evolved, it was typically located outside cities on outlying highways, and designed to attract shoppers over regions of one hundred square miles or more. Paradoxically, Gruen’s theory held that rational shopping planning could rescue the old commercial downtown from the siege of congestion, inconvenience, and crime.

Future Files: A Brief History of the Next 50 Years by Richard Watson


Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Black Swan, call centre, carbon footprint, cashless society, citizen journalism, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deglobalization, digital Maoism, disintermediation, epigenetics, failed state, financial innovation, Firefox, food miles, future of work, global supply chain, global village, hive mind, industrial robot, invention of the telegraph, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, linked data, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, mass immigration, Northern Rock, peak oil, pensions crisis, precision agriculture, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, self-driving car, speech recognition, telepresence, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing test, Victor Gruen, white flight, women in the workforce, Zipcar

For example, 75% of people in Britain think that supermarkets like Tesco, which takes £1 for every £8 spent in Britain, have become too powerful and would support stricter government controls. This has not escaped the attention of the world’s largest retailer, which is testing smaller neighborhood stores dubbed “Small-Marts”. Maybe the future is stealth retail: shops that don’t operate like shops and malls that don’t look like malls. This is not a new idea. Back in the 1960s Victor Gruen, the architect of the modern mall, called for retailers to incorporate civic and educational aims, so that shopping malls and supermarkets would function more like oldfashioned town centers, with non-retail elements like schools, doctors, libraries, churches and sport facilities. For example, Swiss retailer Migros has created health and education centers. However, connecting with the local community doesn’t just mean parents collecting tokens for school computers.

pages: 383 words: 81,118

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee


Airbnb, Alvin Roth, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, if you build it, they will come, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, John Markoff, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

That meant figuring out the right mix of stores and negotiating deals with them. It also meant working on the interior and exterior layout of the mall. In doing this, they could draw on decades of learning from other mall developers, going back to the Southdale Center, the very first modern shopping mall, which opened in Edina, Minnesota, in 1956 and was designed by the pioneering retail architect, Victor Gruen.4 All matchmakers, whether they operate physical or virtual places, face these same sorts of decisions. They need to figure out how to design their platforms to increase the chances that participants will be able to find each other and engage in mutually beneficial exchanges. They must construct the platform, whether from bricks or lines of code, and often develop tools that participants can use to find valuable matches.

pages: 423 words: 115,336

This Is Only a Test: How Washington D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War by David F. Krugler


Berlin Wall, City Beautiful movement, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Frank Gehry, full employment, glass ceiling, index card, nuclear winter, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, urban planning, Victor Gruen, white flight, Works Progress Administration

General Services Administration, “Basic Principles and Assumptions Governing Preparation of the Long-Range Plan for the Security of the Nation’s Capital,” June 1950, box 48, folder “545-15-85 ‘Security for the Nation’s Capital,’ ” RG 328, Planning Files, i. 2 The Promise and Politics of Dispersal For more on the attractions of dispersal as protection, see Tom Vanderbilt, Survival City: Adventures among the Ruins of Atomic America (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), 73–81; Kathleen A. Tobin, “The Reduction of Urban Vulnerability: Revisiting 1950s American Suburbanization as Civil Defense,” Cold War History 2, no.2 (January 2002): 1–32. Michael Quinn Dudley, “Sprawl as Strategy: City Planners Face the Bomb,” Journal of Planning Education and Research 21, no. 1 (Fall 2001): 54–5. For more on the perceived social and community benefits of dispersal, see Timothy Mennel, “Victor Gruen and the Construction of Cold War Utopias,” Journal of Planning History 3, no. 2 (May 2004): 116–50. Dudley, “Sprawl,” 56–7; Robert Wojtowicz, “Building Communities in the Twentieth Century,” Journal of Urban History 28, no. 6 (September 2002): 813–4 (the Stein quote is on 813); Richard Walker and Robert D. Lewis, “Beyond the Crabgrass Frontier: Industry and the Spread of North American Cities, 1850–1950,” Journal of Historical Geography 27, no. 1 (January 2001): 3–9.