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New model for strip malls?Views: 242
Dec 29, 2009 6:28 pmNew model for strip malls?#

Ken Hilving
"Strip malls are in virtually every American city, but they're rarely an important part of those cities. Ava Bromberg says they can be. Her idea is to turn strip malls into community-owned hubs that generate capital within their neighborhood and keep it there.

Strip malls probably donít fit into the definition of progressive urbanism for most people, but maybe they should. Well, maybe after a little organizational tweaking.

The small retail centers are ubiquitous in American cities, with their generic shops selling donuts or beer, offering dry cleaning or key-cutting. They're a part of many neighborhoods, but not necessarily an essential part. They bring goods and services to the area, but are ultimately of the greatest benefit to their owners Ė off somewhere cashing monthly rent checks from the moms and pops running the little businesses within. That model can change, according to Ava Bromberg. She's a PhD student in UCLA's School of Public Affairs who is developing a new vision for small retail centers that would transform them into engines of social and economic capital at the neighborhood level.

"It's part mall, part business incubator, part cultural hub," says Bromberg. The idea is to overlay a distributed ownership model on the typical strip mall that enables the value created by this commercial real estate to cycle back and benefit the neighborhood it serves. Consumers are also business owners, property shareholders, and decisionmakers. In this model, the building goes from being a cash cow for one owner to being a bank for the community, into which investments can be made and from which public benefits can be funded.

But it's also about activating disused retail space for more than retail. Bromberg wants the spaces to partner with local institutions like hospitals and universities to create learning environments and job training opportunities on-site. The idea is to retool the existing neighborhood infrastructure to serve unmet needs within the community."

source http://www.planetizen.com/node/40949

So the old model of strip mall as a cash cow for the developer is changed. The profits from space rental is reinvested into the area, providing capital to existing and new businesses. Rather than a drive by shopping location, the strip mall becomes a commons, a neighborhood center.

What do others think of this? (see the article for more information and some excellent graphics)

Private Reply to Ken Hilving

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