Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development – Robert Gibbs

Dateline: 1:32 pm March 12, 2012 Filed under:

Two thumbs up is what I give Bob Gibbs’ new book entitled Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development. This book provides a much-needed real-world look at how retail development works, and the ins and outs of how to accomplish successful retail development in urban areas.

Let’s face it, we urbanists don’t read eachothers’ books for pure enjoyment or the prose and poetry. These are reference books, and Bob Gibbs delivers on this and more (and his prose is just fine). Loaded with photos, drawings, and tables, Urban Retail Planning and Development provides all sorts of examples and metrics to accomplish good development. From the Shopping Center Built-Form Types chapter to the all important Parking chapter, Gibbs demonstrates his vast range of retail consulting experience. His array of case studies provides built examples and the grid required to achieve them. Give him credit – this book uses real world examples, not plans, whose successes are rooted in market realities.

The only quibble I have is Gibbs doesn’t directly address retail solutions to overbuilt commercial strips. But cross-reference a book like Retrofitting Suburbia (Dunham-Jones/Williamson), for example, you find what you’re looking for.

Perhaps most important of all is Gibbs’ comment in the Introduction to the book, where he writes, “I have yet to find an urban commercial district without public clocks, tall trees, restaurants or benches.” Duly noted. I’m sure I’ll be referencing this book for years to come.

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