The Silicon Valley cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale are alike in many ways. But their downtowns offer a study in contrasts because of land use decisions made 30 years ago.

Like many suburbs in the 1970s, Sunnyvale approved and subsidized development of a mall as a way of “saving” downtown. It didn’t work out that way in the in the long-run, as the mall itself blocked downtown progress.

While Sunnyvale was building a mall, though, neighboring Mountain View was laying the groundwork for what is now a thriving suburban downtown. Was it all foresight and good land use planning by Mountain View city leaders, or was there some luck involved?

Downtown Malls Continue to Haunt Some Cities was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by ksalay@pps.org
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