PlaceMakers Webinars

New Rules for Retail: A Form-Based Perspective

Featuring Bob Gibbs

$15 > Now available on-demand as a recorded session

American towns and cities traditionally provided for the majority of their markets and offered a wide range of goods and services including groceries, hardware, apparel, and home furnishings, in small shops as well as at least one major department store. These stores contributed toward sustainable urban centers that allowed for residents to walk or have only a short drive for most of the goods and services that they desired or needed. In larger towns and cities, department stores were often hundreds of thousands of square feet, covering entire blocks. Presently, shopping centers in sprawl areas capture the vast majority of the retail spending of most communities, resulting in an unsustainable land pattern. Urban residents must drive outside their neighborhood, village, town or city for most of their goods and services. This reverse trip often results in a lower quality of life for urban dwellers, while at the same time the locations of shopping centers and malls encourage people to move outside of towns and cities. Both tendencies support more sprawl. However, due to demographic trends toward urban living, many leading retailers are now seeking urban locations to deploy new stores. They have designed flexible formats that can be adapted to historic buildings or smaller block grids. Downtowns and urban centers have an opportunity for rebirth as the center of commerce for their regions.

Learning objectives: 1: Explain the history of downtown retail, and its decades-long migration to the suburbs. 2: Describe methods for reinvigorating towns and cities by leveling the playing field for business to locate in urban cores and town centers. 3: Assess tools like form-based codes and the SmartCode Retail Markets Module for reintroduction of retail and commercial spaces, as well as case studies of other places who are getting it right. 4: Participants will begin to understand how to employ form-based codes as a method to reintroduce retail and commercial into appropriate areas along the rural-to-urban transect.

Bob Gibbs‘s expertise has been sought by some of the most respected mayors, renowned architects, and successful real-estate developers in the country. Profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Urban Land, Gibbs has, writes The Atlantic Monthly, “a commercial sensibility unlike anything possessed by the urban planners who usually design downtown-renewal efforts.” Bob is President of Gibbs Planning Group, author of many publications, including the SmartCode Retail Markets Module.