Redressing Strip Malls

Strip malls could be the next frontier for urban redevelopment, according to Chris Nelson.
November 15, 2008, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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"Urban planner Arthur 'Chris' Nelson would survey the scene and proclaim it a 'new Promised Land.'"

"Nelson -- a University of Utah professor who grew up in the Portland area -- is dead serious. Dried-up commercial centers, or at least the space they occupy, offer a national rebuilding opportunity that Nelson believes could accommodate two-thirds of the nation's population growth projected for 2040 and 75 percent of the job growth."

"He told a recent Metro conference in Portland that half the nation's non-residential buildings that existed in 2000 will be torn down by 2030. "What an opportunity to recast and reshape" the urban landscape into something more sustainable, he said."

"Strip malls offer a particularly keen opportunity. Look past the big box stores, Nelson said, and you have large, flat, well-drained, developable space linked to existing infrastructure. Broad rights-of-way allow easy access. There is space enough to bring in tracks for light-rail trains or streetcars. They are perfect for much denser, mixed-use developments in which people can live, work, shop and eat, he said."

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Published on Friday, November 7, 2008 in The Oregonian
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