1. Rethinking the strip mall

I’m borrowing the 10 things concept to build an agenda of thinking for the next couple of months – my New Year’s resolutions, of sorts. Over the next few days, we’ll roll out one or two of these ideas in the hope that you’ll find something of common interest and choose to join the conversation…or even commission a study!

Yes, we all share contempt for this one, yet it seems, because of the unstoppability of this universal scourge, that the subject is trite and unaddressable.

However, the collapse of funny money financial instruments, the resulting recession, and now the predicted change in spending habits, all seem to contribute to what may be a fundamental change in the domain of retail real estate, and especially non-urban, non-mall retail.

Others have recently generated interesting redevelopment concepts, and more recently I’ve seen proposals to use rooftops of strip malls for wind farms. It feels, in other words, as if we’re all warming up to address the issue once again, and not as concept, but real necessity.

Throughout my region, the landscape is full of strip malls totally shuttered, or with one or two stores on their way to shuttering. What do we do with this legacy of overbuilding?

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