The Future of Shopping Centers

There's an interesting photo essay up from someone outside the industry opining about the future of shopping centers.

As malls across the country start to fade into obsolescence, what is to become of these massive structures? After spending some time searching out the most creative alternatives to abandonment and massive landfilling of these former monuments to chain-store consumerism, I've found that the future of shopping malls is hopeful and creative:

The Factoria Mall in Bellevue is currently losing many stores, but redevelopment will begin soon in the hopes of creating a more useful, long-term multipurpose community space. The new Marketplace @ Factoria will still house retailers, but the redesign will add pedestrian walkways, outdoor dining, and even residential units.

Factoria is one of a number of older malls being redesigned as mixed-use centers that include housing as a main feature. The development group General Growth Properties (not associated with Factoria) has become a leader in mall renovation, re-imagining them as town centers to reflect their awareness of "changing living patterns and widespread opposition to sprawl," according to an article in New Urban News. The article continues, describing one renovation of a mall in Columbia, Md.

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