Urban Development

Urban Shopping Center DevelopmentShopping areas are a clear indicator of the economic status of a community. They bring in jobs, help raise the real estate value of the area and allow customers to have a wide choice of stores to choose from.

Urban economic development studies the effects of the creation and development of shopping areas in communities whether they are suburban, urban or anywhere in between. From 1922 until the present time more than 47,000 shopping centers were built. Their development followed social and economic trends of development between suburban and urban areas. In late 50s and 60s large enclosed shopping center were developed in suburban areas, areas where people chose to live, leaving crowded and noisy cities behind. To cater for a larger customer base (located within a 20 mile radius) regional malls came up as a new trend in the late 80s.

The development of shopping areas mirrored the flow of wealth from cities to suburbs where middle and upper class families. By the 1980s the cities were known for their low income residents, high crime rates and stressful environment. During this time the majority of the development in shopping centers occurred in suburbs. The trend reversed around the 1990s when urban development was mainly led by business centers in cities. To increase retail sales in these areas in urban communities a new shopping center concept came about: the festival marketplace.

Similar to medieval market places that would revitalize the community among town celebrations, festival marketplaces are a complex platform of shopping, sightseeing and entertaining. In the attempt to spur growth and attract more opportunities for urban shopping, various important cities in the US adopted this model. Some of the most well known centers are the Harborplace in Baltimore, Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, the South Street Seaport in New York City and many more. The effect of these new models has been a positive economic impact on local jobs and more revenue from tourists as some would visit these cities as part of shopping tours.

Nowadays your range of options is so wide that differences between urban and suburban will not have such an important say in your access to large shopping centers. What will influence your access will be mostly your economic status.