As the Enclosed Mall Era Fades, Learning Lessons, Both Bad and Good

For all the bad press that the traditional enclosed mall receives today from planners, there are certainly retail strategies they excelled at that will be pertinent long into the future, argues Geoff Dyer.

1 minute read

April 9, 2012, 7:00 AM PDT

By Hazel Borys


Dyer offers design solutions that pull from shopping mall successes ("anchors are critical", "create a clear shopping stroll") and apply the A-Grid / B-Grid to structure walkable commercial streets as well as more service oriented thoroughfares. Dyer says:

"As many of us are actively trying to reform car-focused retail into dynamic mixed-use, walkable urban centers, we are quick to point at the mall as the poster child for everything we are trying to reform. But as the heyday of last-century's drive-to mall fades into the past, there are many things that the mall excelled at."

"While these lessons are certainly applicable to the design of new regional centers (and yes, there are many under construction or in planning even in current economic times), they can also be applied in both traditional main street settings and for the transformation of dead malls into walkable mixed use places. We're taking a look at some of the design lessons that can be learned from the mall, as well as lessons that we've learned since then."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

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