Urban Markets; A Necessary Tool of Urban Recovery
As many America cities see their populations pack up and move to the promise of suburban life, the challenge for planners is becoming how to get them back. Cities by nature already have an advantage over suburbs; convenience. Who doesn’t want to be close to where they can work, live, and play? Unfortunately the parts of that equation that have drawn people to urban areas are starting to fall through. Many employers are finding it cheaper to head for the wide open terrain of suburban or even rural America. As this is occurring the “live” part of the draw is quickly diminishing as it becomes more and more difficult for those who live in cities to purchase quality goods at an affordable price.
Grocery stores, retail outlets, and doctors are following the population away from the once thriving downtowns of America. The challenge for planners; get them back. And of course we must start at square one; food. Humans need food. And since very few Americans growth and produce their own food most must buy their food from a store. As such the importance of grocery stores in urban areas cannot be understated. How much of a convenience would it be to have a grocery store just a few blocks away? However it’s equally important that as we seek to bring back these stores we keep the urban aspect of urban living. Combining these two requirements is a quality beginning in attracting people back into urban and away from the suburban.
In Columbus, OH just a few blocks from the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University an urban grocery store has just opened its doors. Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain, decided to renovate their Weinland Park location. Affectionately named “KroGhetto” by students at Ohio State, the previous location looked like in belonged in the suburbs, with the edge of the store was set back far back from the sidewalk and cars filled a massive front parking lot. Thankfully Kroger, with a little encouragement from local planner organizations, decided to change this. The construction project began in late 2010 and opened up on July 26th of this year. The contrast is shocking. The store has now been brought up directly to a newer and wider sidewalk. Parking, now on the northern side of the store, is still visible from the street however is overshadowed by a newly designed store façade. The sleek and classy exterior matches well with a modern store interior.
It’s safe to say it’s a huge success. The new store will make it difficult for the OSU population to come up with any derogatory nicknames and will put a smile on the planners in the area. Hopefully as cities look to bring in more grocery stores to serve their populations they can look to the Weinland Park Kroger as an example of what to do and how to do it.
- osuphantom posted this