Victor Gruen - NOT a J. Gordon Lippencott

Services for Real Estate Pros with Casual Uncluttering LLC

Who, you ask, is Victor Gruen - NOT a J. Gordon Lippincott? In the commercialized cacophony that is the "Holiday Season" leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah, I felt compelled to learn more about the inventor of the modern shopping mall.


And it was my sheer dumb luck that the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC has been hosting an exhibit about Gruen this year, so I learned ALOT (not in person, but hey...). Mr. Gruen was a Jewish, Austrian-born architect and urban planner who emigrated to America when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. He envisioned malls as community centers, consistently advocating that they be developed as mixed-use environments, incorporating not just retail establishments, but restaurants, apartments, and even schools, medical centers, parks and lakes into their footprints. He extended his concepts to entire cities, including the plan for modern Tehran.


Gruen's ideas were not fully adopted in his lifetime: shopping center developers routinely took everything in his plans which would enhance sales and ditched the rest. He deeply regretted the "bastard developments" produced by his concepts. Except for... Disneyland. COOL!!!!!


And as I look around the thriving, beautiful, spacious urban centers recently built at The Village at Totem Lake - which even hosted Corbin Maxey, a popular animal expert, to the delight of dozens of children - and Woodinville's Schoolhouse District, I think Gruen would be pleased. People were paying attention after all.

Comments (6)

Dennis Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 21 Days or We Sell It For Free

Thank you for the interesting history lesson. More development like Woodinville's Schoolhouse District would be welcomed. I've spent lots of time in Woodinville and loved it.

Nov 06, 2023 05:38 PM
Lauren Williams, CPO

Dennis Neal Woodinville is growing more urbanized by the second. Lauren

Nov 06, 2023 05:43 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Lauren Williams, CPO, CVPO  I have lived in Austria for three plus years and went to school in Vienna for one year I have not heard of him clearly because I lived in Austria in the early 1960's loved your post, Endre

Nov 06, 2023 09:05 PM
Lauren Williams, CPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Endre Barath, Jr. Mr. Gruen's life spanned  July 18, 1903 - February 14, 1980. He was most influential from 1954 when he launched his first mall to the mid-1970s. Lauren

Nov 06, 2023 09:23 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

How interesting we came to the US in 1967.... so he was still at the top of his game then, Endre

Nov 06, 2023 09:26 PM
Lauren Williams, CPO

Endre Barath, Jr. Very very much so. Lauren

Nov 07, 2023 07:51 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lauren,

What an interesting history lesson we learned from you today. I agree with you, I think Gruen would be pleased that people appreciated his ideas. 

Nov 07, 2023 06:18 AM
Lauren Williams, CPO

Dorie Dillard Austin TX 😁Lauren

Nov 07, 2023 07:51 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Lauren - I recognized Victor Gruen's name in your post title but don't recall awareness of Mr Lippencott.  Thank you for the additionnal insight as well as new informaation.  It proves, once again, we can learn all sorts of things while visiting ActiveRain. 

Nov 07, 2023 07:44 AM
Lauren Williams, CPO

Michael Jacobs Follow my link on Lippincott - I blogged about him a long time ago. Not a very pleasant fellow in my opinion. Lauren

Nov 07, 2023 07:50 AM
Michael Jacobs

Lauren Williams, CPO, CVPO - and the insight continues. . .   

Nov 07, 2023 08:11 AM