Strip Malls

Close-up of multiple hands holding up plate of street-style tacos arranged in circular shape.

Is a Taco a Sandwich? It Depends on Your City’s Zoning Laws

A land use dispute in Indiana points to broader questions about zoning and property rights.

May 23, 2024 - Forbes

Vacant commerical parking lot in front of shuttered strip mall.

Opinion: Strip Malls Are a Huge Untapped Source for Housing

Redeveloping just the best-suited 10 percent of America’s strip malls could result in 700,000 new affordable homes nationwide.

December 17, 2023 - Next City

Vacant mall with vast empty parking lot with cracked asphalt and Southwestern mountains in background.

From Department Store to Apartments

A former Sears store has a new life as a housing complex.

November 5, 2023 - Fast Company

The interior of a multi-story apartment building includes a children's' playground and a colorful mural.

La Placita Cinco: A Strip Mall Redevelopment for Housing Affordability and Neighborhood Revitalization

U.S. cities lack land for new development but have many derelict or defunct parcels in need of revitalization. There are an estimated 70,000 strip mall centers in the country, all with tremendous potential for affordable and workforce housing.

July 21, 2022 - Tim Mustard

Shuttered strip mall in Niland, California

Strip Malls as a Housing Solution

The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?

May 22, 2022 - Yale Environment 360

Eden Center Arch, Falls Church, VA

How to Transform the Humble Strip Mall

One Northern Virginia shopping center illustrates how the auto-centric strip mall can be repurposed to better serve its community.

January 24, 2022 - Strong Towns

South Mall Parking Lot

A Contemporary Update to the #BlackFridayParking Tradition

For years, Strong Towns readers have been pointing out the vast empty parking lots on the busiest shopping day of the year as evidence of poor land use regulations. Now the #iwishthisparkingwas hashtag imagines a different future.

November 27, 2020 - Strong Towns

Strip Mall

How Typical Economic Development Kills Community Character

An economic development pro makes an argument for an approach to economic development that prioritizes the urban design decisions that favor community character.

September 23, 2020 - Proud Places

Ugly L.A.

The Challenge of Re-Orienting Strip Malls for Transit

Bill Lindeke writes of the daunting urban design and planning challenge presented by America's post-war fascination with the strip mall.

January 23, 2015 - MinnPost

The Case for Protecting Strip Malls from 'Commercial Gentrification'

As our suburbs diversify, the most affordable commercial districts found in such areas (often in strip malls) become an important entry point for immigrants to build their 'American Dream'. Kaid Benfield asks if such opportunities deserve protection.

June 11, 2013 - NRDC Switchboard Blog

A Clash of Cultural Sensibilities in South Philly

Allyn Gaestel outlines the tensions that arise as a growing Vietnamese community begins to define the visual character of Washington Ave. in South Philadelphia.

November 20, 2012 - Next American City

North America Rethinks Its Strip Malls

As the strip malls ubiquitous across the suburbs of the United States and Canada lose favor and become increasingly derelict, planners and developers debate whether there is anything about the 'retail relics' worth salvaging.

February 1, 2012 - France 24

Dept. Store Blocks Use of Easement to Stifle Competition

A Sears Shopping Center in Lincoln Park, Michigan has found a novel way to kill their competitor - close the easement the developer is using to access the property.

October 18, 2011 - The News-Herald

Can A Strip Mall Be Worthy of Historic Preservation?

The Arlington, VA County Board is voting in July on naming 23 properties as 'essential' to preserve. Among those chosen are two strip malls.

June 14, 2011 - The Green Miles

Strategic Planning for Stagnating Strips

Deteriorating commercial strips are commonplace in today's auto-oriented suburbs. Errin Welty outlines her strategy for turning stagnating strips into vibrant shopping districts.

May 23, 2011 - Errin Welty

The Strip is Overbuilt

We've got more commercial strip development than we can handle, says Edward T. MacMahon of ULI, and the economy is restructuring the retail landscape away from the strip.

February 4, 2011 -

Creating Neighborhood Capital from Strip Malls

Strip malls are in virtually every American city, but they're rarely an important part of those cities. Ava Bromberg says they can be. Her idea is to turn strip malls into community-owned hubs that generate capital within their neighborhood and keep it there.

October 1, 2009 - Nate Berg

From Trash to Splash

Dumpster diving takes on new meaning as a New York-based design firm reinvents vacant lots as mini-resorts by converting old trash bins into swimming pools.

July 22, 2009 - ABC News

Redressing Strip Malls

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

November 15, 2008 - The Oregonian

Ideas to Outmode the Strip Mall

In a contest sponsored by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, architecture firms nationwide competed to show off how they would best use land currently devoted to strip malls. Bustler provides the winning entries.

October 16, 2008 - Bustler

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