Business/Commerce

Transform Underutilized Malls into Walkable Destinations

Underutilized strip centers, malls, and aging office parks are ideal locations to transform into dense, mixed-use, walk-friendly destinations. The effort usually requires revising funding priorities, zoning regulations, and urban design guidelines in order to implement that walkable vision.

Guidance
  • Appoint a task force to organize regular and meaningful public participation, such as a series of community workshops, outreach events, and public meetings
  • Build bridges between elected officials and land owners
  • Develop alternative long-term development scenarios to be used as the basis of public discussion
  • Use transit-oriented development principles as toolkit for a context-sensitive approach that considers other nodes and/or forms of transit, including bus rapid transit and ferries
  • Investigate and address all other jurisdictional regulations and incentives that might affect or be effected by proposed land use amendments
Benefits
  • Increases walking and cycling opportunities
  • Improves economic vitality of an area
  • Reduces congestion
  • Reduces expenditures on transportation, water, and utility infrastructure
Considerations
  • Costs and resources required for public education and outreach
  • Funding for adapting or creating new street networks
  • Coordination among multiple jurisdictions and agencies
Where to Use It
  • Underutilized strip centers, malls, and aging office parks
  • Underutilized industrial parks or warehouses
Professional Consensus
  • Sprawl Retrofit strategy endorsed by the Congress for the New Urbanism
Examples

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.