25 Jun 2009


In the last decades big malls have often been considered as the panacea to revitalize whole parts of a city through attracting customers and even more tradesmen in the surrounding areas. But facing reality many big shopping malls have shown that in the long run lack of diversity in program can't be compensated just by a mix of different retail.

In the USA the problem of dying malls has got a wide spread phenomenon both in suburban and urban areas. Especially introverted complexes spreading over several blocks are predestined tasks for redevelopment.

What possibilities are there to stop these places from ending up as dead empty volumes? In Pasadena (California, USA) a declining mall was partly demolished to reestablish the old structure to the historic street grid and restating former sight lines while taking advantage of the existing subterranean parking. Connected with the integration of restaurants, entertainment, office and residential next to commercial usage as well as facing the storefronts to the streets and creating new public outdoor spaces this dying spot in the city could be revitalized in an attractive manner. The mixture of functions guarantees a vivid urban space even at night.

public outdoor space of a reestablished mall in Pasenda

Nevertheless retrofitting of megastructures are expensive and complicated. That's why we must learn from previous problems with mono-usage shopping centers to support a sustainable urban development. In Gothenburg today many new supermalls are being planned, eventhough the market is already saturated. Second thoughts anyone?

[image: http://www.cnu.org/sites/files/mallsintomainstreets.pdf]

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