Fresno: A City Reborn – Rare 1968 Documentary by Victor Gruen Associates

After having invented the modern American shopping mall with his design of Southdale in Edina, Victor Gruen spent much of his career working to reverse the population movement from core cities to sprawling suburbs across the U.S. This short film covers his work in Fresno which includes many parallels to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in that freeways were cut through the city and a pedestrian mall was created which was planned to be one piece of an entire car free district.

According to this wikipedia article the Fresno city council voted last year to return auto traffic to Fulton Mall. With the upcoming reconstruction of Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis and ideas floating around to extend the 7th Place pedestrian mall in Saint Paul it’s a good time to take a look at what happened in Fresno. What would it be like if buses were routed off of Nicollet Mall and it became a true pedestrian only experience? What could happen in downtown Saint Paul if the aptly named Town Square skyway level mall were to be demolished and the 7th Place pedestrian mall extended to the east? is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

3 Responses to Fresno: A City Reborn – Rare 1968 Documentary by Victor Gruen Associates

  1. Andrew May 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    99% Invisible just had a show about Victor Gruen last week. It expands on some of his history developing malls and working on car-free urban planning.

    • Matty Lang
      Matty Lang May 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

      Thanks for making that more explicit, Andrew. That’s where I found this video and I linked in the text above, although didn’t state very clearly where the link was going other than in the hover title.


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