Rethinking Retail Space in the Wake of COVID-19

As e-commerce boomed and people sought outdoor shopping and dining options, the pandemic accelerated the decline of massive, merchandise-oriented retail spaces and indoor malls.

Read Time: 1 minute

January 12, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Tysons Corner

Frontpage / Shutterstock

Longtime East Coast retail hub Tysons is experiencing major changes as the retail world adapts to the growing role of e-commerce and the disruptions brought on by the pandemic. According to an article by Jon Banister, "A series of new moves in the market, from longtime store closures to first-time openings to mall redevelopments, highlight how the Northern Virginia edge city is entering a new generation of its retail life cycle."

As part of the changes, older stores losing out to e-commerce will be replaced by service-oriented businesses like fitness centers and coffeeshops. With close to 70 percent of its retail space located within a quarter-mile of transit, Tysons has become a destination for shoppers from around the region. Meanwhile, the area's largest mall is continuing to redevelop its facilities for mixed use, building high-rise residential and office spaces on the site of former department stores, and new retailers are expressing significant interest in spaces near new transit stops.

As the popularity of indoor malls declines, cities and property owners are seeking new ways to adapt sprawling retail spaces and surface parking lots to denser, more transit-oriented uses. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for outdoor dining spaces and public parks, which will provide public health and economic benefits long after the pandemic.

Monday, January 10, 2022 in Bisnow

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee