Last month I blogged about DC's Central Library and proposals to "co-locate" commercial space on the library site, to generate revenues to pay for renovations and expansions. See "The DC Central Library, the Civic identity and the public realm
I mused about the key civic assets in a community, how they define the community, and whether or not communities would allow such key buildings as the City Hall, Courthouse, Main Library, or main public park to be commercialized.
As mentioned in the entry, some "public spaces" are in fact privately owned. I mentioned the railroad station--although these days for the most part these are publicly owned facilities--and while I didn't mention the primary Downtown commercial district specifically, I did mention the buildings that are/were there, such as the city's department stores, majestic theaters, signature restaurants, and other retail.
Of course, these shopping districts have long since been supplanted by the suburban shopping mall.
The Boston Globe
opines about the loss that derives from the way retail shopping has changed, how department stores and the city's main shopping district have long since been supplanted, in "What is Christmas without the department store?
For those of us with memories of the department store Santa--for me it was at Hudsons, in Downtown Detroit, but every city has its own examples, this of course resonates. Also see "How J.L. Hudson changed the way we shop
" from the Detroit News
-- Going shopping: consumer choices and community consequences
-- Harvard Design School guide to shopping (Chapter 4 makes the point that the history of shopping is also in part about the history of women. After all, about 70% of retail transactions are conducted by women. And department stores were created to make shopping like theater.)
-- English Shops and Shopping
-- Downtown America"Final Sunset" The Requiem for Hudson's Suite, Lowell Boileau 1998. Demolition of the Downtown Hudsons Store, Detroit.
Labels: commercial district revitalization planning, department stores, Downtown, retail