Urban Fold

Better Places, Better Lives Reviewed

The Wall Street Journal reviews two new books about developer James Rouse -- possibly the individual with the greatest effect on America's 20th-century built environment.

"A visionary developer with boundless energy but no formal training, Rouse (1914-96) had a greater effect on America's 20th-century built environment than almost anyone short of Henry Ford and Alfred P. Sloan. He was an early advocate of "urban renewal" -- that is, bulldozing old buildings. Like the architect Victor Gruen, he pioneered the shopping mall, both as a business and as a gathering point in suburbs dominated by cars and far-flung neighborhoods. To help revive older cities, he created the 'festival marketplace,' most famously with Boston's Quincy Market and Baltimore's Harborplace... Unfortunately, Rouse's career points in the other direction, too -- highlighting much that is wrong with postwar development."

[Editor's note: The link below is availble to non-subscribers for a period of six days.]

Thanks to Chris Steins

Full Story: He Built It and They Came

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