Gibbs Harvard Class 2020

Class Description

Now in its 25th year, Robert Gibbs will be teaching his popular Harvard University Urban Retail program this fall after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted.   

The Gibbs course is one of Harvard’s most popular and longest running executive education urban planning and real estate classes.  The 3-day session examines the proven planning approaches, design and management principles necessary for the creation of urban retail in cities and new town centers. 

This includes tactics used by leading retail developers and considers how they can be applied to a variety of urban settings.

Learning Objects

Illustrating Case Studies, the instructors will review: 

  • The best practices for programming competitive urban retail centers and repositioning older suburban shopping centers.
  •  Proven planning and design practices for walkable retail centers including: architecture, parking, parks, streetscape and tenant mix.
  • The fundamentals of retail market research and site selection criteria by each retail category and many national retail tenants.
  • An introduction to consumer psychographics, and how this field leads to an understanding of and exerts influence on consumer behavior.
  • An insider’s view for planning and managing resort and tourist retail destinations.
  • An optional tour and analysis of the evolving retail district of Harvard Square.
  • Modern industry standards for retail visual merchandising, storefront and signage.
  • The expanding importance of food in its many forms in the creation and sustainability of retail places.
  • International trends and opportunities, and the connections universally shared among great retail places around the globe


Robert Gibbs, FASLA, AICP Gibbs Planning Group

Terry Shook: FAIA: Shook-Kelley Architects

Patrick Benvenue:  Home Fed Corporation, ME

Eldon Scott: Urban Space , NY

Yaromir Steiner: Steiner Associates, OH


Date:        October 2020 Pending COVID-19

Location: Harvard University Campus, Cambridge, MA

CEUs:       21 AIA/CES (HSW) | 21 AICP/CM | 21 LA/CES (HSW)

Tuition:    $2,150

Contact:  Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Executive Education and International Programs
48 Quincy Street, S-102 Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Tel: 617-384-7214