Jul 18, 2013

Suburban Malls


Victor Gruen Wanted to Make Our Suburbs More Urban. Instead, He Invented the Mall

Victor Gruen Wanted to Make Our Suburbs More Urban. Instead, He Invented the Mall
Wikimedia Commons/Mark Byrnes

Victor Gruen, regarded by many as the American shopping center's pioneer, would have been 110 today.

Born in Austria, Gruen emigrated to the United States in 1938. In 1951, he founded his own firm "Victor Gruen Associates" out of Los Angeles. He hoped to bring his Vienna-like tastes in urbanism to rapidly suburbanizing America.

The firm quickly became one of the nation's busiest, providing master plans and shopping centers for municipalities around the country.

A 1968 urban renewal film presented by Victor Gruen and Associates titled "Fresno: A City Reborn" 
His first mall, built in 1954 in suburban Detroit, was seen as the future of American shopping. Unlike so many of the fully enclosed malls that came after, the two-million square foot center included outdoor space (eventually removed), auditoriums, a bank, a post office, local retailers and a supermarket.
Click to read the rest of the story in The Atlantic Cities.
theatlanticcities.com