It has been a tumultuous 12 months in retail real estate.

The housing bust and the credit crunch have taken their toll and massively slowed the pace of investment and development. And, there are fewer projects being built. By one estimate, only half as many new retail projects will open in 2008 compared to 2007.

And of the projects that are breaking ground, developers are doing what they can to cut back — and that can include scaling back grandiose designs. But, while there may be a slowdown, that doesn't mean there aren't projects being green-lighted.

Some of the projects moving forward are on the cutting edge of retail design. Projects like the Daniel Libeskind-designed CityCenter in Las Vegas continue to rise. The new World Trade Center — with renewed retail — is also under way. Today, the unique Meadowlands Xanadu stands just months away from completion. How it performs could have a huge effect on future retail projects. It is in this climate that we bring you our second annual Retail Architecture Review. This supplement includes a series of features we hope you will enjoy and find useful.

At Retail Traffic, we have always prided ourselves on our attention to the design of stores and shopping centers. We monitor these trends regularly in our magazine and Web site.

And here, once a year, we put together a special package devoted entirely to retail architecture. Inside, you'll find the 19th annual edition of our Superior Achievement in Design and Imaging (SADI) Awards. In total, 14 projects received recognition as winners or honorable mentions this year. And, for the second consecutive year, a store design — not a shopping center — takes the top prize.

In addition, there is a special feature we put together working with the AIA Retail Knowledge Community exploring what defines excellent retail architecture and how it's different from architecture for other property types. Also, we have enhanced our Leaders In Retail Architecture section that offers profiles of 20 firms, Q&As with key figures at those companies and a resource guide. We hope you enjoy this supplement. And if you have ideas on how to make it even better and more informative next year, don't hesitate to drop me a line at david.bodamer@penton.com.