Landscape Architect & Specifier News

AUG 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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88 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 0 5 Lorain, Ohio. See p. 70 for Lorain's new streetscape design. PHOTO: THE COLLABORATIVE "Amazonification of Main Street" "For the times, they are a changin'" —Bob Dylan, 1963 The revival of downtown streetscapes is a common theme in this issue. New street lighting, wider sidewalks, seating, planting beds, public art and other site amenities are part and parcel of trying to attract retailers and locals to the downtown. In this age of online buying for low prices on just about everything, or what has been dubbed the "Amazonification of Main Street," downtowns all over the U.S. and the nearby city malls are struggling to survive. And many of those retailers and quaint shops that used to inhabit Main Street are becoming a thing of the past. A barber shop, nail salon, some restaurants, an antique store, a real estate office and a cleaners might still be found on Main Street U.S.A., but many of the stores that Baby Boomers used to frequent suddenly are no longer there and are only a memory. One fondly remembers running errands downtown: stopping in at the record store to peruse for hidden treasures—now as distant a memory as grandmother going to the silent pictures as a child; then dropping by the music store to rent a band instrument for junior; walking over to the bike shop for a new tire; then stopping by the hardware store for that elusive part; and, finally, browsing the book shop before heading home. When Dylan sang of "changin'" he was expressing how young people were shaking up the status quo. Amazon ($75 billion in annual revenue) alone has fully disrupted the retail status quo, forcing suppliers to lower their prices, while increasing its cut on sales. Who'll go downtown in the future other than for dining and entertainment? Maybe just robots, but that's another story.

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