Environment: Design for Shopping

A 15-year urban renewal splurge has left Boston's government and financial districts strong and healthy, but the city's neglected downtown retail center has stagnated as established stores have followed the middle classes to the suburbs. Last week Boston joined with Jordan Marsh, the city's biggest department store, and Sefrius Corp., a French syndicate, in a bold attempt to change the situation. Their plan: to build a $220 million project called Lafayette Place that is designed to make downtown shopping attractive once more.

An important part of the developers' strategy is to make it easy...

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