Susan Braun writes “Get rid of the fake windows” in Minneapolis’ Downtown Journal (via Planetizen). Her particular gripe is with chain stores that try to replicate their auto-oriented suburban models in the city. She calls out CVS Pharmacy in particular for its fake windows, which she deems worse than blank walls because they pretend to be something they’re not. I wrote about windows as walls in When does a window become a wall?, and Braun has an elegant way of articulating the urban preference for real windows.
CVS…is taking the anti-pedestrian environment to an extreme. A review of three of their urban locations…yields at least 10 different ways to block windows or in other ways destroy an interior-exterior connection and a sense of street vitality and safety. As you walk by these stores, here’s the view: The backside of display shelves, blank walls built into the windows, blinds pulled all the way down, film over the windows, walls built into the windows with generic advertising on them, a view into a poorly organized storeroom, a view into the chaos of the backside of sinks and counters in the photo area, a wall with a shelf of gift bags stuffed with tissue paper (how symbolic — empty gift bags), a wall with a shelf of teddy bears with their backs to the street, and the crowning jewel is a display of once lovely prints, now an eerie green as the red ink fades, of the lost Read the rest of this entry »