A Dead Mall Becomes a Downtown for a Sprawling Suburb

Categories: social, economy                 
Tags: infrastructure

What? In Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, a large outdated shopping mall was retrofitted to create a downtown called Belmar. It was designed to draw together a diversity of functions that would normally be distributed in the community: a few anchor stores, a cinema, a bowling alley, urban parks and plazas for farmers markets, festivals and outdoor music. Office spaces, residential spaces, a hotel and a streetscape of small commercial spaces for artists and craftspeople fill the rest.  The 2000 residents of the complex paid a 60% premium for the housing.

So what? If other malls can make the transition from supplying goods to increasingly offering services and experiences, the investment and competition could spark innovation in leisure industries (e.g. new sports, festivals or art forms). For suburban residents, the revitalizing of nearby malls could also bring some of the offerings of city life closer to home. In the future, if growing telepresence working arrangements displace the need to go the city, demand for services and leisure activities in the suburbs at all times of the day is likely to grow. Alongside transit innovations that decrease reliance on vehicle ownership (ride-sharing apps, and self-driving cars), there may be new opportunities to redesign the suburbs. Rather than a future of increasingly dense urban cores, Canada could see networks of suburbs as the new centres of economic and social life.

Source: CNU - A dead mall becomes a downtown for a sprawling suburb 

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