In a recent article, Geoff Dyer from Placemakers advocates learning from the success of shopping malls when designing urban retail centres. Although some argue traditional enclosed malls are becoming obsolete, they still offer many useful lessons. Shopping centre managers have spent decades analyzing the movement and behaviour of visitors. These findings transcend built form and can be applied to many different urban environments.
Shopping Mall Design Lessons:
- You need a critical mass of retail
- Anchors are critical
- Create a clear shopping stroll
- Multiple store entries are possible
- The parking walk-around
- Create a Center
- Group Food and Entertainment Together
- Terminated Views
- Get Beyond the Lifestyle Center
- Use the B-Grid to Plan for Converting your Car Side
- Use Angled Parking and a Linear Park
- Add Residents
Geoff critiques the "lifestyle" centre for being isolated and having low walkability. I tend to agree - despite their aesthetics, most lifestyle centres are hardly more urban than your typical enclosed mall. He presents an interesting alternative that can be created by integrating the lifestyle centre directly into an adjacent and dense urban environment.
Image Source: Geoff Dyer, Lessons from the mall and beyond, Better! Cities & Towns
I highly recommend reading the full article which can be found at Better! Cities & Towns.