Skip to content
CityLab
Design

Victor Gruen Wanted to Make Our Suburbs More Urban. Instead, He Invented the Mall

How we ruined Gruen's plan for more walkable, tight-knit American downtowns.
relates to Victor Gruen Wanted to Make Our Suburbs More Urban. Instead, He Invented the Mall
Wikimedia Commons/Mark Byrnes

Victor Gruen, regarded by many as the American shopping center's pioneer, would have been 110 today. 

Born in Austria, Gruen emigrated to the United States in 1938. In 1951, he founded his own firm "Victor Gruen Associates" out of Los Angeles. He hoped to bring his Vienna-like tastes in urbanism to rapidly suburbanizing America.