Urban Retail

News and resources relating to mixed-use neighborhoods, town centers, main streets, and downtowns.

Related News

HUD expected to further ease restrictions on mixed-use financing

The administrative change to follow recent successful FHA standards, according to CNU president John Norquist.

Wed, Apr 2nd 2014 8:22am
An exurban town sees the benefits of walkability

Londonderry, New Hampshire, could be a model for New England suburbs to organize growth at the metropolitan edge. 

Mon, Mar 24th 2014 10:10am
New urban math

To forge a coalition for urban places, let’s start by trumpeting an important fact: The value of cities and towns transcends simple arithmetic. Part 1 in a 3-part series.

Mon, Feb 24th 2014 11:42am
How diverse textures and contrasts engage us with human settlement

Some years ago, when our movement to replace sprawl with better cities and suburbs was relatively new, I had a big moment at NRDC. Unfortunately, it bombed.

Mon, Feb 17th 2014 9:59am
Do African Americans not shop at Trader Joe's?

When class conflict is placed front and center in political battles over revitalization, existing residents are often the biggest losers.

Tue, Feb 11th 2014 1:07pm
The 'new urban lowdown' on boutique hotels

Boutique hotels are all the rage. Just about every downtown development group wants one. So we turn to Eric Brooks, a long-time pro in hotel development, to help us understand the niche.

Thu, Jan 16th 2014 11:57am
Raise value, avert risk, focus on form

The current commodity driven system is prone to boom and bust cycles. Form-based planning facilitates the holistic development of enduring, diverse neighborhoods.

Thu, Jan 2nd 2014 12:08pm
The business case for compact cities and towns

Innovation and access to good employees -- two reasons why businesses are choosing to locate in walkable downtowns and towns centers.

Tue, Dec 24th 2013 9:51am
The fool proof city

The most brilliant innovations in building cities won't come from politicians, professionals and advocates. That brilliance is already embodied in the traditional development pattern.

Mon, Nov 25th 2013 9:16am
Atlanta, hotbed of walkable real estate

If the poster-child city for suburban sprawl is fertile ground for mixed-use, compact development, then the trend must be strong.

Thu, Oct 3rd 2013 8:54am
A new town center for the Huskies

UConn is a surprisingly large school to be located far from any walkable town. The new urban Storrs Center attempts to make up for the lack of a historic urban place.

Mon, Sep 23rd 2013 8:44am
How I learned to stop worrying and love major streets

While I dislike noisy suburban arterials just as much as the next guy, I realized that retail will work better on busy streets and that we can make them nice places. 

Thu, Sep 12th 2013 10:19am
Welcome the age of the 'anti-mall' (maybe?)

Anti-malls are the new malls.  So proclaims the staff of DC area booster magazine Washingtonian, in a fun compendium of “The Best of Washington: 62 Reasons to Love Our City."

Mon, Aug 26th 2013 10:33am
Three steps to downtown economic renaissance

Redwood City, California, brought a humdrum business district back to life by creating better public spaces, adding an anchor, and reforming codes to unleash the private sector.

Wed, Aug 7th 2013 10:22am
Malls lose their grip: Good news or bad for the built environment?

Hanging out on social media is beginning to replace hanging out in shopping malls for many American teenagers. Some well-known retailers are suffering the consequences.

Wed, Jul 24th 2013 3:25pm
Downtown big box store cuts driving

A study recently argued in the Journal of Transport and Land Use that locating a big box store near downtown can reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) significantly in a particular community.

Mon, Jul 8th 2013 11:04am
Sustainable development and mortgage default

Multifamily properties with sustainability features have a significantly lower risk of mortgage default, according to a scholarly report available from Fannie Mae.

Mon, Jun 3rd 2013 3:00pm
US commercial buildings are redevelopment assets

According to the book Reshaping Metropolitan America, about half of all nonresidential structures in the US will be “ripe for redevelopment” in 2030. Many of these are commercial strip retail buildings with large parking lots or dated office buildings on suburban sites, according to an article in the current issue of Better! Cities & Towns. The annual report Emerging Trends in Real Estate notes that many suburban retail and office properties across the US are languishing in value and may not be worth refurbishing. All in all, 50 billion square feet of commercial space in the US will need redeveloping by 2030, says Reshaping Metropolitan America author Arthur C. Nelson. One of the challenges to redeveloping such sites, however, is that they are often located on commercial strip corridors that are not appealing for mixed-use development. That challenge could be addressed by “complete streets” projects on major thoroughfares that need to be rebuilt anyway, setting the stage for redevelopment.

Wed, May 15th 2013 9:28am
Unrecognized assets: Low-density commercial buildings

According to Reshaping Metropolitan America, about half of all nonresidential structures in the US will be “ripe for redevelopment” in 2030.

Sat, Apr 13th 2013 4:41pm
Why retail design is important

Much of the future built environment will be determined by how commercial sites are developed.

Sat, Apr 13th 2013 4:01pm
Don't get mixed-up on mixed-use

While mixed use has been embraced by citizens, politicians, and planners, it has held different meanings in different places. Let's explore those meanings.

Sun, Apr 7th 2013 11:08am
The prospects for retail space

Arthur C. Nelson, author of Reshaping Metropolitan America, projects that between 2010 and 2030, nearly 80 billion square feet of nonresidential space will be replaced or redone in the US. Retail structures have a short lifespan, he points out. The rapid obsolescence opens substantial opportunities to build retail in a more walkable, mixed-use, transit-supported fashion. Nelson doesn’t think retailing will make a huge shift to the Internet—at least not enough to make physical retail space a thing of the past. Web-based retail sales, even after increasing by more than 10 percent a year between 2002 and 2012, “still accounted for less than 5 percent of all sales” last year, he notes. At this pace, e-commerce will account for under 13 percent of retailing by 2030, and, he says, “I do not expect much if any reduction in retail space demand in the United States. Some retail activities defy e-commerce, especially restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and beauty salons. Moreover, the best way to comparison shop is by seeing, touching, and in some cases, trying on the goods.”

Mon, Mar 11th 2013 12:00pm
Evanston nets a zero for Walgreens design

Walgreens is building a "net zero" store in Evanston, Illinois, that inappropriately places a suburban design in an urban location. The city could have done better.

Fri, Mar 15th 2013 2:11pm
For walkable cities, it's about finding the right kind of density

Wherever the word "dense" appeared, I crossed it out substituted the word “walkable.” Not only is “walkable” a friendlier word; it captures what is needed to make the places sustainable and livable.

Mon, Mar 4th 2013 12:14pm
Mixed-use building gives to the public realm

A six-story, 273-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail is proposed near a transit stop on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. The Torti Gallas and Partners building, called Park Van Ness, has an appealing design with nods to Art Deco, notes the blog Greater Greater Washington. What's even better about this building is that it creates a terminating vista at the end of a cross-street, Yuma Street, with an archway leading into a plaza overlooking a park. The building acknowledges the vista with a view of nature framed by architecture and makes the pedestrian experience more interesting by breaking up the large building into two halves. It is not clear whether the plaza will be private or public, but this single building contributes to the public realm more than usual.

Wed, Feb 27th 2013 12:57pm

Editor's Picks

Urban grocers proliferate

Demographic and market conditions are causing supermarkets in the District of Columbia region and elsewhere to modify their designs and fit walkable neighborhoods.

Wed, May 19th 2010 2:03pm
Four keys to successful town centers

Yaromir Steiner explains four important rules for regional urban centers:

Tue, Feb 16th 2010 2:16pm

Research

The business case for compact cities and towns

Innovation and access to good employees -- two reasons why businesses are choosing to locate in walkable downtowns and towns centers.

Tue, Dec 24th 2013 9:51am
Atlanta, hotbed of walkable real estate

If the poster-child city for suburban sprawl is fertile ground for mixed-use, compact development, then the trend must be strong.

Thu, Oct 3rd 2013 8:54am
Downtown big box store cuts driving

A study recently argued in the Journal of Transport and Land Use that locating a big box store near downtown can reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) significantly in a particular community.

Mon, Jul 8th 2013 11:04am