Redressing Strip Malls

Strip malls could be the next frontier for urban redevelopment, according to Chris Nelson.

"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."

Full Story: Tired strip malls present opportunities to reshape the landscape


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.