Shopping court

A shopping court is a type of neighborhood shopping center that developed, particularly in Greater Los Angeles, in the 1920s. Most had a few boutiques, themed shops (as today in a festival marketplace), and cafes, up to a dozen and sometimes included offices and studios. A linear walkway or patio connected the units, which was relatively new, as up to then, collections of shops under a management or coordination were connected by a public sidewalk, as in Westwood Village or Country Club Plaza. Patios of buildings in Mexico, Latin America and the Mediterranean inspired the design on the shopping court, as those regions also inspired much of the Southern California architecture during that era, e.g. Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Shopping courts proliferated in the 1930s in affluent residential areas such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena, and in resorts like Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. They were limited in impact as the scale could not accommodate larger stores and store windows did not draw attention of passing motorists.[1][2]

Crossroads of the World, a shopping court in Hollywood, Los Angeles, opened in 1936
Pasaje Polanco along Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Mexico City, built in 1938 in Colonial Californiano style, a Mexican style derived from California's Spanish Colonial Revival style. Shops face an interior courtyard as well as the street, and there are apartments on two upper floors.


In Mexico:


  • Longstreth, Richard W. (1997). "Chapter 10, Grass on Main Street: Shopping Courts". City Center to Regional Mall. MIT Press. pp. 273–286. ISBN 0262122006.
  1. ^ Longstreth 1997. "Called shopping courts…pedestrian-oriented complexes in outlying areas were modest in size…few had more than a dozen shops, cafes and other compatible establishments, all at ground level. Sometimes a second story was included to house offices and studios. Almost all businesses faced internal open spaces — a linear walkway or more expansive patio — rather than the public domain. The type seems to have been introduced after the First World War, drawing from the broad historical precednet of courtyards in Latin America and the Mediterranean basin. By 1930, the Los Angeles metropolitan area spawned by far the largest number of shopping courts, although examples could be found in other regions that enjoyed mild climates as well as in cities such as Chicago…Nevertheless, these complexes were identified foremost with Southern California, where they were seen as testaments to the state's Hispanic legacy, fulfilling the contemporary quest for a distinct regional character."
  2. ^ Longstreth, Richard W. (1999). The drive-in, the supermarket, and the transformation of commercial space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941. MIT Press. p. 15. Whereas the shopping court was for the most part a collection of outlets purveying unusual good and services
  3. ^ Longstreth 1997, p. 272.
  4. ^ Longstreth 1997, p. 278.
  5. ^ Longstreth 1997, pp. 282–286.
  6. ^ Longstreth 1997, pp. 284–285.
  7. ^ Windover, Michael (2012). Art Deco: a Mode of Mobility. Chicago Review Press Inc. DBA Independent Pub Group. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9782760535138. as the shopping court was described on its first anniversary
  8. ^ Longstreth 1997, p. 281.
  9. ^ Longstreth 1997, p. 446.
  10. ^ Longstreth 1997, p. 276.