The Peril of the Pedestrian Mall

Pedestrian malls have had a very mixed success ever since Victor Gruen debuted them back in the 1960s. Scott Doyon says the problem is that going pedestrian-only is the flipside of being autocentric.

Pedestrian malls may catch on in places that are already heavily pedestrian, but are rarely good for downtowns already suffering from depopulation. Scott Doyon explains why some make it:

"The ones that work are the exception, not the rule, and they require some particular characteristics to flourish: high levels of tourist traffic occurring for reasons other than the mall is one; large populations of pedestrians (such as universities or dense intown housing) in close, walkable proximity is another."

"For everyone else - the everyday places where pedestrian malls drove the final stake into an already dying downtown - there are lessons learned. And, thankfully, what's in evidence today with our next generation efforts to humanize our streets and shared spaces is an increasing look at accommodation rather than prohibition. Everyone gives a little, everyone gets a little."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

Full Story: Pedestrian Malls are So 20th Century

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