Creating Urban Retail

Walkable Shopping for Cities

One of the best ways to bring people to a city is by having an attractive array of popular stores and boutiques for them to visit. When retail shops begin to pop up in an area of a city, planners should know that they have done something right. You may think that it's as easy as zoning for retail spaces, but there are many factors that increase the likelihood of bringing shoppers into your city.

Newbury Street Shopping Boston, MA
Mostly Retail: Though this is a bit of a paradox it is true. In order to have a successful retail district, most of the street frontage in an area should be devoted to retail. Non-shopping buildings in between stores decrease a pedestrians desire to keep walking. The more gaps you have between shopping locations, the less time the average person will spend shopping! Bringing more stores to an area only can help.

Walkable: Sure anyone can shop at a mall. Malls can be built anywhere from the most posh city to the emptiest little town. Malls will not help. To really create a successful city, the stores should be a part of the city, not trapped inside a mega-structure. In order to facilitate the success of stores out in cities at large, they need to be accessible by foot. If people cannot get to the shopping area or do not feel comfortable walking around for long period of time, they will not.

Safe: Nobody wants to shop when they feel threatened in any way. Remember Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Safety is the most important need and it comes before any other desires. In order to care about shopping, the shoppers must not be worried about crime. Sorry Detroit, now's not a great time for you to add in some expensive stores!

Harmonious: One of the last ways to increase the likelihood of success in a retail district is to make sure that the area has a unique but consistent feel. Shoppers should be able to walk through the shopping area and see buildings built in similar styles and heights. Lots of variety can confuse a shopper into feeling like the area is haphazard or that it may abruptly end when it does not. At the same time, you want your retail area to stand out from the rest of the city. It should not appear to have appeared by accident.