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The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD) is a network of architects and allied stakeholders that promotes equity in housing, excellence in residential design, and sustainable, vibrant communities for all, through education, research, awards, and advocacy.

What Comes after the Fun City?

  • 1.  What Comes after the Fun City?

    Posted 03-12-2020 05:53 PM


    After the late Jim Rouse, frequently noted as the inventor of Baltimore's HarborPlace and Boston's Faneuil Hall redevelopment, invented his retail concept of the Festival Marketplace he was depicted on the cover of Time Magazine under the title "Cities are Fun". At the time that was a novel idea.
    Time Magazine of August 1981

    The fun concept had already  a small footing on some traditional urban waterfronts. San Francisco's Embarcadero was always rather gaudy, so was Chicago's Navy Pier. But otherwise cities were series business, emphasis on business. Rouse's concept opened up a whole new perspective and took cities in storm: 40 years ago Festival Market Place look-alike places sprang up on waterfronts in Baltimore, New York (Southstreet Seaport), Oakland and Norfolk to name just a few.  Even Sidney's Harbor was tailored after Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Along with the idea of urban fun grew the concept of urban tourism which eventually rubbed off on the residents themselves. Why should the tourists have all the fun, they asked, and looked for their city as a place to relax. Outdoor eating, sandy spots called plage (beaches after a French model along the Seine), fancy parks, dog parks, linear parks and many waterfront promenades followed suit, so did fancy urban stadia, convention centers, arenas and casinos.  Cities became vacation destinations and places of convention junkets. All of a sudden Las Vegas was everywhere.

    It was only a matter of time  that Rouse's original local concept of the Festival Marketplace would be

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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