Rouse Company

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Rouse Company

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Rouse Company developed and managed a series of "festival marketplaces"—central city shopping malls featuring entertainment and historically themed architecture—that were widely credited with attracting crowds of shoppers and new investment dollars to formerly blighted downtown commercial areas. In the ten years following the 1976 opening of its Fanieul Hall Marketplace in Boston, Rouse built such colorful retail complexes as New York's South Street Sea Port, Baltimore's Harbor Place, Milwaukee's Grand Avenue Mall, and St. Louis's Union Station, a frenzy of development that some observers dubbed the "Rouse-ification" of the American city. Typically such developments depended on extensive subsidies from city government. Critics charged that Rouse projects failed to provide jobs for the urban poor, catered to the nostalgia of yuppie consumers with their use of stylized historical architecture, and squandered scarce public dollars better used elsewhere.

—Steve Macek

Further Reading:

Frieden, Bernard, and Lynne Sagalyn. Downtown Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1989.

Sorkin, Michael, editor. Variations on a Theme Park. New York, Noonday Press, 1992.

Squires, Gregory, editor. Unequal Partnerships: The Political Economy of Urban Redevelopment in Postwar America. New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 1989.