Mastermind of the mall wanted to save cities

Jimmy Stamp, writing for Smithsonian about James Rouse:

Though some attribute the shopping mall to the decline of the American downtown, Rouse’s ambition was actually to give the placeless suburbs a civic anchor. He continued to develop malls and marketplaces, but the next step seemed obvious to the visionary developer. James Rouse rolled up his sleeves and built a city.

He believed that we demanded too little of ourselves and our cities. He believed that the city could be better, that we could be better. Rouse believed that cities are just too big and their impossible scale alienates us from one another, fostering an apathy and loneliness. In Rouse’s view, we’re at our best in smaller communities where there is a sense of responsibility to one’s city and to one’s neighbor. He imagined a beautiful, self-sustaining American City–a new America, really–that fostered economic, racial, and cultural harmony. 

(Via Adam Rogers.)

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