Downtown Brooklyn's Fulton Mall is one of the most bustling public spaces in New York City. A colossus of commerce, itwelcomes over one hundred thousand shoppers daily and ranks among the most profitable commercial real estate in the entire country, and is also home to some of the city's most recognized institutions, including cheesecake mecca Junior's, that have been immortalized in song, film, and culture. Despite its historic link to Brooklyn's past and its financial success as a shopping district, Fulton Street is rarely celebrated in New York. The street's hand-painted signs, customized jewelry, rare sneakers, mega-church, and vendors offer a special sampling of noncorporate commerce, but many consider its sensorial and physical density a sign of blight. Misunderstandings about race, class, and profitability have led Fulton Street to be characterized as run-down, dangerous, or underutilized, and as a result it has been subject to nearly continuous renovation. Recently rezoned and becoming increasingly attractive to national chain stores, Fulton Street is once again poised for big changes.
Street Value is a challenge to creatively rethink the planning and urban design of Fulton Street and other urban shopping districts. Street Value explores the mall's historical and contemporary conditions through original essays, oral histories, new and archival photographs, historic documents, and interviews with key planners, developers, city officials, historians, and activists from the 1960s to the present. Street Value probes the ideology of redevelopment and demonstrates how commercial, governmental, and activist forces have coalesced to produce one of Brooklyn's most legendary public spaces.