Apple Retail: a return to pre-WWII urban design

Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, speaking to an investment group in 2006 about the company’s philosophy on store location:

If you want to enrich their lives, you can’t be in a parking lot, off a highway. You gotta be where they live their life. You gotta be right where they work, where they play, where they live, where they shop. The only way to enrich their life is to be part of their life. They’ve got to walk 10 feet to your store, not drive the car 10 miles. That’s what enriching lives would take.

As forward thinking as it sounds, what’s amazing about this is that it’s really a return to pre-WWII urban design. Concentrate services like retail stores at the core of communities, and the impact is felt both ways: the community is a more desirable place to spend time, and people’s lives are enriched by the experience.