Vashist_ Master's Thesis

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Re-Envisioning Eastridge Shopping Mall, San Jose: An Urban Design Approach

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Vashist_ Master's Thesis

  1. 1. RE-ENVISIONING EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL, SAN JOSE An Urban Design Approach
  2. 2. RE-ENVISIONING EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL, SAN JOSE: An Urban Design Approach A Planning Report Presented to The Faculty of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning San José State University In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Urban Planning By Aastha Vashist May 2013
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION: Integrating San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall with the Adjacent Urban Village Site............................................. 9 1.1. Shopping Malls in American Suburbs..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................10 1.2. Definitions and Terminology...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................10 1.3. Why Retrofit Eastridge Shopping Mall? ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................11 1.4. Who is the Intended Audience?......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................12 1.5. Vision for the Study Area...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................12 1.6. Methods Overview..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................13 1.7. Report Organization...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 Chapter 2. SHOPPING MALLS: An Opportunity for Reinvigorating Suburbs ..........................................................................................................15 2.1. History of Shopping Malls in the United States........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................16 2.2. Role of Shopping Malls in American Life.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................17 2.3. Urban Design Strategies for Rethinking Suburban Shopping Malls.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................18 2.4. Challenges to Retrofitting Shopping Malls................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................20 2.5. Conclusion..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................22 Chapter 3. EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL: Existing Conditions, Urban Context, Constraints and Opportunities ................................................23 3.1. Setting of Eastridge Shopping Mall..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................24 3.2. Site Analysis ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................25 3.3. Urban Design Analysis.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................27 3.4. Constraints and Opportunities.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................34 Chapter 4. CASE STUDIES: Lessons from Retrofitted Shopping Malls .....................................................................................................................38 4.1. Methodology and Selection Criteria............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................39 4.2. Case Study: The Crossings at Mountain View, California.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................39 4.3. Case Study: Broadway Plaza at Walnut Creek, California.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................44 4.4. Key Lessons Learned from Case Studies......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................49 Chapter 5. URBAN DESIGN PROPOSAL: Re-envisioning Eastridge Shopping Mall..................................................................................................53 5.1. Urban Design Strategies...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................54 5.2. Master Plan ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................63
  4. 4. Chapter 6. CONCLUSION: Research Findings And Next Steps...................................................................................................................................67 6.1. Key Findings .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................68 6.2. Methodology Limitations and Next Steps..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................69 APPENDIX A: Interview Questions...............................................................................................................................................................................70 APPENDIX B: Urban Design Analysis...........................................................................................................................................................................71 APPENDIX C: Behavioral Observation Study...............................................................................................................................................................75 APPENDIX D: Case Study Selection Criteria ................................................................................................................................................................76 APPENDIX E: Demographics Analysis .........................................................................................................................................................................77 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................80
  5. 5. TABLE OF FIGURES FIGURE 1. Context Map for Eastridge Shopping Mall, San Jose. FIGURE 2. Overview Map for the study area. FIGURE 3. Reid-Hillview Airport Safety Zones. FIGURE 4. Map showing existing land uses for the study area. FIGURE 5. Map showing proposed land uses for the study area. FIGURE 6. View of Eastridge Transit Center from East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 7. Figure Ground Map, Building Footprint Map and Street Map for the study area. FIGURE 8. View of a typical single-family residence in the study area. FIGURE 9. View of an aging strip mall along the periphery of Eastridge Shopping Mall at Tully Road and Quimby Road intersection. FIGURE 10. View of a seemingly recent built strip mall at the intersection of Quimby Road and East Capitol Expressway in the study area. FIGURE 11. View of East Capitol Expressway and Thompson Creek. FIGURE 12. Vehicular access point to Eastridge Shopping Mall site from Quimby Road. FIGURE 13. Vehicular access point to Eastridge Shopping Mall site from Quimby Road. FIGURE 14. Analysis of connectivity around Eastridge Shopping Mall. FIGURE 15. Analysis of legibility for the study area. FIGURE 16. View of Thompson Creek from East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 17. Backdrop of Diablo Hill Range along East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 18. Inactive street edges of East Capitol Expressway created by street facing large surface parking lots and inward facing developments. FIGURE 19. Main pedestrian route between Eastridge Transit Center and Eastridge Mall. FIGURE 20. View of outdoor streetscape along the Eastridge Shopping Mall’s southern entrance. FIGURE 21. View of Eastridge Shopping Mall Transit Center. FIGURE 22. Analysis of diversity for areas surrounding Eastridge Shopping Mall. FIGURE 23. Aerial image of residential development within the study area. FIGURE 24. View of Eastridge Shopping Mall from Tully Road. FIGURE 25. View of East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 26. Areas of constraints within the study area, based on urban design analysis. FIGURE 27. View of a strip mall along Tully Road. FIGURE 28. View of Eastridge Shopping Mall from Quimby Road. FIGURE 29. View of surface parking lot within the Eastridge Shopping Mall site. FIGURE 30. View of Quimby Road. FIGURE 31. View of retail along Tully Road. FIGURE 32. Areas of opportunities in the study area, based on urban design analysis. FIGURE 33. View of Eastridge Transit Center looking towards East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 34. View of Thompson Creek running along East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 35. View of Diablo Hill Range from Meadowfair Park looking towards the eastern side. FIGURE 36. View of streetscape along Eastridge Shopping Mall’s southern building facade. FIGURE 37. View of proposed urban village site from Quimby Road. FIGURE 38. View of Evergreen Dialysis Center near Eastridge Transit Center. FIGURE 39. View of AMC theater from Quimby Road. FIGURE 40. Context map for the Crossings at Mountain View, California. FIGURE 41. View of previous Old Mill Shopping Center in Mountain View. FIGURE 42. Overview map for The Crossings at Mountain View, California. FIGURE 43. View of Central Expressway along San Antonio Caltrain Station.
  6. 6. TABLE OF FIGURES FIGURE 44. View of townhomes with cottage style architecture and preserved redwood trees within The Crossings at Mountain View. FIGURE 45. View of Pacchetti Way connecting residential development. FIGURE 46. View of an existing strip mall at the periphery of the Crossings at Mountain View. FIGURE 47. View of residential stoops along Pacchetti Way that help to clearly delineate private space from public space. FIGURE 48. View of corner building along Pacchetti Way and view of building facade facing San Antonio Caltrain station. FIGURE 49. View of central roundabout with preserved redwood trees along Pacchetti Way. FIGURE 50. View of park adjoining residential units. FIGURE 51. View of people biking along Shower Drive, located towards the northern edge of The Crossings at Mountain View. FIGURE 52. View of residential development at The Crossings in Mountain View. FIGURE 53. Context Map for Broadway Plaza at Walnut Creek, California. FIGURE 54. Historic aerial image of former Broadway Shopping Center. FIGURE 55. View of Broadway Plaza Street. FIGURE 56. View of a pedestrian street at Broadway Plaza. FIGURE 57. View of South Main Street with Broadway Plaza towards the left and downtown towards the east. FIGURE 58. View of a pedestrian street connecting the plaza with the downtown’s main street. FIGURE 59. View of parking lots and parking structure along South Broadway Plaza towards the rear side of the plaza. FIGURE 60. Area adjacent to bus stop along Broadway Plaza Street. FIGURE 61. View of Broadway Plaza Street. FIGURE 62. View of South Market Street immediately adjacent to Broadway Plaza. FIGURE 63. View of the development along the intersection of Mount Diablo Boulevard and South Broadway Street. FIGURE 64. View of a landscaped open space along Broadway Plaza Street. FIGURE 65. View of a small public place at the intersection of Mount Diablo Boulevard and South Broadway Plaza. FIGURE 66. View of proposed retrofitted Eastridge Shopping Mall development. FIGURE 67. Section of East Capitol Expressway. FIGURE 68. Typical street section for proposed retrofitted Eastridge Shopping Mall development.
  7. 7. Table of Tables TABLE 1. 2010 Population by race for area within one mile of Eastridge Shopping Mall and San Jose. TABLE 2. Case study characteristics. TABLE 3. Summary of key findings based on urban design analysis and behavioral observation study. TABLE 4. Interview questions. TABLE 5. Evaluation of Principle 1: CHARACTER. TABLE 6. Evaluation of Principle 2: CONNECTIVITY. TABLE 7. Evaluation of Principle 3: LEGIBILITY. TABLE 8. Evaluation of Principle 4: DIVERSITY. TABLE 9. Data intake sheet for behavioral observation study. TABLE 10. Evaluation of retrofitted shopping malls within San Francisco Bay Area based on selection criteria for identifying case studies. TABLE 11. Demographic data for San Jose and Eastridge Shopping Mall neighborhood for year 2000 and 2010. TABLE 12. Social characteristics for area within one mile of Eastridge Shopping Mall and San Jose for year 2010. TABLE 13. Retail Market Potential for San Jose and Eastridge Shopping Mall neighborhood area for year 2011. TABLE 14. Retail goods and services expenditure for San Jose and Eastridge Shopping Mall neighborhood area for year 2011.
  8. 8. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This thesis would not have been possible without the untiring encouragement and effort of my husband Nitin and parents who endured this long process with me, always offering their support and love. I cannot find words to express my gratitude towards Professor Richard Kos, my thesis advisor, whose patience, motivation, enthusiasm, and immense knowledge helped me in all the time of research and writing of this thesis. I could not have imagined having a better advisor and mentor for my thesis project. Special thanks to Professor Dayana Salazar and Benjamin Grant for their insightful comments and feedback that were instrumental in development of ideas for the project. My sincere thanks also goes to Ms. Laurel Prevetti, Mr. R. John Anderson and Mr. Ian Ross for sharing their insights and experiences that guided the development of the project. Last but not the least, I would like to thank my son Ronav for cooperating every time I had to spend time working on the project.
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION 1 1.1. Shopping Malls in American Suburbs 1.2. Definitions and Terminology 1.3. Why Retrofit Eastridge Shopping Mall? 1.4. Who is the Intended Audience? 1.5. Vision for the Study Area Integrating San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall with the Adjacent Urban Village Site 1.6. Methods Overview 1.7. Report Organization T his paper endeavors to examine the urban design strategies that could be applied for redesigning San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall site with objectives of reducing automobile dependency, creating a distinct sense of place, and improving connectivity with surrounding areas, particularly with the adjacent urban village as listed in “Envision 2040,” the City of San Jose’s recently adopted general plan. The topic has widespread implications both for the neighboring communities and the city, and is particularly relevant to the social and economic changes currently faced by suburbs across the nation.
  10. 10. 10 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 1.1. Shopping Malls in American Suburbs Shopping malls have been a ubiquitous feature of the American suburban landscape for the past six decades. The advent of this retail format in the 1950s completely redrew the facade of American retail, withdrawing people from traditional main streets and becoming a prototype for the retail market.1 According to a 1989 study, shopping malls accounted for a majority of non automotive sales in the United States.2 A by-product of suburbs, shopping malls offered convenience to automobile-dependent suburban residents; they were often located in the vicinity of highways and major arterials, and accommodated cars by providing ample, convenient parking areas.3 However, six decades after their birth, shopping malls across the nation are encountering hard times and struggling to remain afloat. American suburbs are currently dotted by aging, mid-century shopping malls surrounded by large expanses of under utilized surface parking lots. Statistical data further confirms the dwindling popularity of conventional suburban shopping malls. A study conducted by the Congress of New Urbanism (CNU) in 2001 classified 7 percent of America’s total shopping malls as “dead” and another 11 percent as “threatened.”4 The global recession in 2008 further exacerbated the situation as a large number of prominent anchor retail chains (e.g., Circuit City, Borders, and Blockbuster) filed for bankruptcy, and several others closed a number of their outlets.5 Between 2007 and 2009, 400 of the 2,000 largest shopping malls across the nation closed.6 According to an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) study, only one third of the existing 1,100 enclosed regional shopping malls in the United States are currently viable.7 The unprecedented low vacancy rate of 9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 further provides evidence of the ongoing decline of the American shopping malls.8 1. Lisa Scharoun, “Utopia lost? The Significance of the Shopping Mall in American Culture and the Effects of its Decline on the American Public,” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 2 [2012]: 227-45. 2. Ibid. 3. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]. 4. Congress for New Urbanism, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Greyfield Regional Mall Study [January 2001]. 5. Stephanie Clifford, “How About Gardening or Golfing at Mall,” The New York Times [February 5, 2012]. 6. The Week, “The Vanishing Shopping Mall,” The Week [March 26, 2009]. 7. Lisa Scharoun, “Utopia Lost? The Significance of the Shopping Mall in American Culture and the Effects of its Decline on the American Public,” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 2 [2012]: 227-45. 8. Bill Rose, “Record-Low Interest Rates are Certain to Beat Hot Topic at ICSC Recon 2012,” Rebusiness Online (May 21, 2012), http://www.rebusinessonline.com/main.cfm?id=23791 [accessed July 2, 2012]. Nevertheless, the decline in shopping malls provides fertile opportunities for their revitalization into what today’s communities need. Given the potential of such sites to serve as a community asset considering their locational and functional advantages, such as the existing infrastructure, large size parcel, and easy accessibility, the rethinking of existing shopping malls may be of interest to urban designers and planners. In this paper, the author proposes a comprehensive urban design plan for San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall, which is envisaged to serve as a basis for developing such projects in the future. 1.2. Definitions and Terminology Common terms that are used throughout this paper include shopping malls, super-regional malls, lifestyle centers, walkability, suburb or suburban, and suburban retrofit. Although there are many variations of shopping malls, the term in this paper generally refers to enclosed, inwardly oriented stores connected with common walkways and surrounded by surface parking lots.9 More specifically, super-regional malls, the category to which the Eastridge Shopping Mall belongs, are defined by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) as shopping malls with a minimum built area of 800,000 square feet on a 60 to 120 acre site.10 On the other hand, lifestyle centers, first introduced in 1997, refer to a retail format that combines elements of traditional main street and shopping malls.11 These are typically open-air shopping centers that incorporate physical features commonly associated with traditional main streets, such as pedestrian friendly sidewalks, landscaping, and articulated building facades. Such centers often function similar to shopping malls by offering people a controlled and safe environment to shop with a primary emphasis on economic consumption.12 Walkability, a term which is often arbitrarily used in literature, is the extent to which the built environment is friendly to the presence of people walking, living, shopping, visiting, enjoying, or spending time in an area.13 Although the maturation of suburbs has increasingly blurred the line between cities and their surrounding suburbs, this paper largely uses the terms suburbs or suburban in terms of their conventional physical form that is characterized by single use, stand-alone, low density, automobile dependent, and disconnected built environments.14 In response to the under performing car-oriented suburban developments that no longer meet the changing community needs, suburban retrofitting, the term coined by Ellen Dunham Jones, refers to the process of revamping outdated suburban developments by making systematic, long-lasting, and transformative changes.15 9. International Council of Shopping Centers, “ICSC Shopping Centers Definitions,” International Council of Shopping Centers, http://www.icsc.org /srch/lib/SCDefinitions99.pdf [accessed November 25, 2012]. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Barrett S. Lane, “Destination Shopping: Defining “Destination” Retail in the New American Suburbs” [University of Pennsylvania, 2010]; Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]; and Micheal Southworth,“Reinventing Main Streets: From Mall to Townscape Mall,” Journal of Urban Design 10, no.2 [June 2005]. 13. City of Sault Ste. Marie, “Walkability Sault Ste. Marie September 2008 ,”prepared by Dan Burden, http://www.sault-sainte-marie.mi.us/docs/walkabilityaudit.pdf [accessed December 5, 2012]. 14. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 15. Ibid.
  11. 11. 11 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 1.3. Why Retrofit Eastridge Shopping Mall? Built on a sprawling 105-acre16 site with a gross leasable space of 1.4 million square feet and 7,500 on-site parking spaces,17 San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall is a poster child for Victor Gruen’s manifesto — an enclosed shopping mall — that profoundly changed the face of America, the country that first pioneered this retail format.18 Opened in 197119 during the cusp of the shopping mall’s popularity across the country, the super-regional shopping mall was once the largest on the west coast of America. In order to reposition itself as an entertainment venue for the burgeoning population in the region and remain competitive, the mall underwent a major renovation in 2005 that included incorporating a new cinema, restaurants, and a food court.20 Nonetheless, the Eastridge Shopping Mall area represents a microcosm of challenges that are commonly associated with the automobile-dependent and land-devouring suburbs that mushroomed throughout the nation post-World War II. The large site — remarkably disproportionate in scale compared to the surrounding urban fabric — makes the development impermeable to its surrounding street network, hindering the mobility of both cars and pedestrians through the site. The behemoth parking area surrounding the inwardly-focused main building further impedes its connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood, making it virtually inaccessible for anybody travelling without a car. The surrounding highly trafficked arterial roads further create a hostile environment for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Over the past decade, the area surrounding the Eastridge Shopping Mall has been the subject of various planning studies. A 2003 study conducted by the University of Miami identified a lack of gathering place and poor inter-connectivity among the key problems faced by the neighborhood.21 The Evergreen-East Hills Vision Strategy, developed by the city in 2003 and updated in 2007, further stressed the lack of connectivity and an automobile-oriented, built environment as some of the leading problems that confront the neighborhood.22 Likewise, 16. Big Mall Rat, ”Guide to Eastridge Shopping Mall,” Big Mall Rat, http://www.bigmallrat.com/san-josemalls/eastridge-mall.html [accessed November 20, 2012]. 17. Ibid. 18. Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]. 19. Big Mall Rat, ”Guide to Eastridge Shopping Mall,” Big Mall Rat, http://www.bigmallrat.com/san-josemalls/eastridge-mall.html [accessed November 20, 2012]. 20. Ibid. 21. University of Miami, Evergreen-Eastridge Plan, November 2003. 22. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Eastridge Transit Center Improvement and Access Plan, February 2010, prepared by Community Design + Architecture, Inc. and Circle Point, http://www.vta.org/ studies /eastridge_transit_center_improvement_study /eastridge_final_report_2_26_10.pdf [accessed December 1, 2012]. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Eastridge Transit Center Improvement and Access 2010 Study identified the limited accessibility between the mall and surrounding areas among the leading weaknesses of the area.23 However, the constraints offer unparalleled opportunities for tapping the potential of the mall and repositioning it as an asset for the surrounding communities. The shopping mall has the advantage of existing infrastructure, a large size site, a prime location with access to major arterial roads, and public transportation in the midst of a largely residential and commercial area. Unlike conventional redevelopment projects that are often constrained by the political and financial complexities associated with assembling small parcels with multiple owners, the single ownership and large parcel size of the mall offers tremendous redevelopment potential. Moreover, the proximity to the Eastridge Transit Center — the second busiest transfer point in the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) system served by eleven bus routes24 — located right off East Capitol Expressway toward the eastern side of the mall, and a proposed light rail station, offer fertile opportunities to maximize pedestrian activity in the area by capitalizing upon the public transit infrastructure. Although a constraint, the vast sea of parking surrounding the mall’s main building also offers a clean slate for re-inventing and re-integrating the site with the existing urban fabric. the objective of concentrating new developments in areas with the potential of being developed into walkable, transit-oriented, interconnected neighborhoods.27 The presence of an urban village designated site toward the southeastern edge of the mall provides an extraordinary opportunity for furthering the city and community’s vision by seamlessly integrating the two developments, unlocking their untapped potential, fostering a pedestrian friendly environment, and offering the neighborhood a place to congregate. Given that civic leadership is crucial for execution of such a large scale redevelopment and given that the City of San Jose is committed to addressing the challenges presented by suburban developments, the city seemingly offers a favorable environment for retrofitting suburban developments. In summary, the Eastridge Shopping Mall, together with the proposed urban village site, offers a plethora of opportunities that can enable the realization of the long-term perspective of the city, as well as respond to the needs of local communities. The reinvigoration of the mall also provides the possibility of repositioning the mall from an isolated development to an integral part of the community. Besides the locational advantages, the time is probably suitable for retrofitting under-utilized suburban developments in San Jose. The City of San Jose, in its newly adopted general plan — Envision 2040 — has acknowledged effects of mid-century aging suburban development among the biggest challenges faced by the city.25 In response, the general plan seeks an interconnected city26 — an area where activities of daily life are in proximity and easily accessible by walking, bicycling, and public transportation — among one of its overarching community values. In order to materialize the vision, the city has identified 70 growth areas, termed as “urban villages,” with 23. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Eastridge Transit Center Improvement and Access Plan, February 2010, prepared by Community Design + Architecture, Inc. and Circle Point, http://www.vta.org/ studies /eastridge_transit_center_improvement_study /eastridge_final_report_2_26_10.pdf [accessed December 1, 2012]. 24. Ibid. 25. City of San Jose, Envision San Jose 2040 [San Jose, 2011]. 26. Ibid. 27. City of San Jose, Envision San Jose 2040 [San Jose, 2011].
  12. 12. 12 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 1.4. Who is the Intended Audience? This report is targeted to planners, urban designers, and developers who are interested in restructuring conventional suburban shopping malls with the intention of addressing the changing preferences and needs of neighboring communities. The report further endeavors to serve as a guide for similar future projects by recommending urban design strategies for reinvigorating Eastridge Shopping Mall and providing an understanding of the lessons learned from case studies of two successful mall redevelopment projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1.5. Vision for the Study Area As mentioned previously, the study seeks to identify the urban design interventions that can effectively deal with the complexities and deficiencies of San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall. More specifically, the study attempts to answer the following research question: What urban design strategies could be applied for the purpose of redesigning San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall in order to reduce automobile dependency, create a distinct sense of place, and improve connectivity with the surrounding areas, particularly the adjacent urban village as listed in the 2040 General Plan for the City of San Jose? With the objective of addressing the research question, the author identified four guiding principles that will serve as a reference upon which to base the proposed urban design solutions for the study area. In addition to the author’s own perceptions and intuitions in response to the limitations of the study area stated in the research question — automobile dependency, lack of a distinct sense of place, and poor connectivity with the surrounding areas — the design principles were informed by the current best practices and guidance related to urban design. The evaluation of the existing urban design for the study area and case study sites is evaluated against the following principles: A. CHARACTER Character refers to unique elements of a place that define its identity.28 Designing in context by providing enough visual linkages between existing and proposed buildings can strengthen the characteristics of a place and contribute to a cohesive overall effect.29 The vision is to respond to and enhance the existing setting of the Eastridge Shopping Mall area, while still having a distinctive identity of its own. It should further be ensured that the new development complements the surrounding land uses, natural features, and built form. 28. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, By Design: Urban design in the planning system: towards better practice [Great Britain: Crown, 2000]. 29. Richard Hedman, Fundamentals of Urban Design [Washington, DC: Planners Press, 1984]. B. CONNECTIVITY Connectivity is commonly understood to be a central tenet of good urban design, something that is inherently missing in conventional suburban neighborhoods that are often characterized by cul-de-sac street patterns, low-intensity developments, and large expanses of parking lots. The term refers to the directness of links and the density of connections in a transport network.30 Although connectivity also refers to the ease of movement by cars, the term in this paper particularly refers to pedestrian connectivity. The vision is to seamlessly integrate the proposed development with the existing urban fabric, while accommodating all modes of transportation, particularly non-automobile users. The development should further encourage alternative modes of transportation by offering a safe, comfortable, and convenient pedestrian environment at the street level. C. LEGIBILITY In his classic 1960 book The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch recognized legibility, or as he termed it, “imageability,” among the central tenets of good urban design practices.31 Legibility refers to the clear and understandable image of an urban place that enables users to orient themselves and find their way around.32 Creating recognizable routes, intersections, and destinations further contributes to a positive, safe, and pleasant pedestrian environment. Since Lynch’s original work, legibility has been frequently adopted by urban designers and city planners as a guiding principle for the development of places that have distinctive images and are easy to interpret. The vision is to establish the Eastridge Shopping Mall area as a place that has a distinctive identity and is easy to understand, use, and move through. 30. Healthy Spaces and Places, “Connectivity and Permeability,” Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, http://www.healthyplaces.org.au/userfiles/file /Connectivity%20June09.pdf [accessed December 10, 2012]. 31. Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City [Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1960]. 32. Richard Hedman, Fundamentals of Urban Design [Washington, DC: Planners Press, 1984].
  13. 13. 13 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 1.6. Methods Overview D. DIVERSITY A place with variety and choices can encourage active usage of the area, and consequently enrich the pedestrian environment. The vision is to establish the Eastridge Shopping Mall area as a place for the entire community by supporting a diverse range of social and economic activities. In order to answer the research question, the researcher employed the following general methodology: A. Background research (Literature Review and Interview) B. Analysis of existing site characteristics C. Conducting comparative case studies A. BACKGROUND RESEARCH The researcher reviewed the relevant literature and conducted in-depth interviews with urban designers and a city planner with the objective of gaining insight into the topic of retrofitting existing shopping malls. Literature Review The author searched for suitable participants by conducting an internet search of the San Jose State University’s faculty members, the Congress of New Urbanism’s Sprawl Retrofit email list, and Eastridge Shopping Mall’s official website. The background of the short-listed candidates was further explored before the most suitable participants were identified. Based on the search, a total of five urban designers, four city planners, and four management staff members from the mall were shortlisted for interview. The shortlisted candidates were then contacted by email requesting their participation in the research process and informing them about the purpose and duration of the interview. In the end, two urban designers and one city planner agreed to the interview. Despite repeated attempts, none of the contacted management staff responded to the interview requests. A review of secondary data sources including existing peer-reviewed and other journal articles, books, blogs, reports, policy proposals, magazines, and newspaper articles helped answer the research question by guiding the development of suitable design solutions for the study area through identification of the urban design strategies that have worked in the past. Next, each source of literature was categorized according to recurring central themes, findings, and arguments. The themes and debates involve discussions of findings pertaining to urban design strategies that have been employed to successfully revamp similar suburban developments, challenges to implementing suburban retrofitting techniques, and assessments of the role of shopping malls as “third places” for the communities in which they are based. Between January and March 2013, the author conducted telephone interviews of the selected candidates. The interviewees were first briefed about the duration and purpose of the interview, as well as confidentiality information. Next, the author asked semi-structured, non-directive questions that were specifically related to their experiences and backgrounds. During each interview, the author made detailed notes with the full prior knowledge and consent of the interviewee. The questions broadly explored the viability of retrofitting suburban shopping malls, challenges associated with the redevelopment of existing shopping malls, and the candidates’ experience with similar projects in the past. (Chapter 2 describes central themes and debates in the area of study). After the interview, the author re-read and transcribed the notes in a Microsoft Word document. In order to analyze the interviews, the author created a data matrix comparing the responses of all six interviewees. This enabled identification of the patterns and emergent themes. Finally, the findings of the interviews were compared and contrasted with those of the literature review. Interviews Interviews of urban designers and a planner working with the City of San Jose were conducted to obtain first-hand information about the potential constraints and opportunities associated with retrofitting shopping malls. Through the interviews, the author endeavored to seek the opinions and insights of professionals with different backgrounds, values, and experiences. (Appendix A lists the questions asked during the interviews) Together, the interviews and literature review provided a solid background to the broad topic of retrofitting shopping malls while setting the stage for the specific research topic of identifying urban design interventions for San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall. (Chapter 2 describes the findings of the interviews)
  14. 14. 14 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 1.7. Report Organization B. ANALYSIS OF EXISTING SITE CHARACTERISTICS Next, the researcher conducted urban design analysis and behavioral observation of the pedestrians in the Eastridge Shopping Mall site and the surrounding streets. The urban design principles, previously identified in the “Vision for the Study Area” section of this paper, were used as a basis for evaluating the existing urban design of the area. The data was primarily collected through three site visits between December 2012 and February 2013. Urban Design Analysis The purpose of the urban design analysis was to understand the existing urban form and character of the area and to identify the opportunities and constraints presented by the study area in terms of the physical environment. Prior to conducting site visits, the author assigned a unique number to each block in the study area in order to recode the observations on a per block basis. Field observation tables were also developed for guiding and recording the data collection during the site visits. The tables identified the evaluated urban design principle, relevant variables, questions guiding the assessment of the variables, and methods of measurement. In addition, the author used handwritten notes, base maps, annotated diagrams, and photographs for recording the observations made during the site visits. Consistent with the best practices of urban design, the researcher evaluated the legibility by assessing the quality of the approach routes, gateways, and street edges, where gateways are formal or informal designated features that signal a sense of arrival to a place. (Appendix B provides the data intake sheets used during the site visits for evaluating the physical environment of the study area. Chapter 3 provides the findings of the urban design analysis) Behavioral Observation Study Primarily focusing on identifying how people access the Eastridge Shopping Mall, the study had two main objectives: • Identify the levels of pedestrian activity, walkability, sense of safety, and quality of the study area’s physical environment. • Determine the areas of opportunity that can enhance connectivity with the surrounding area, and constraints that prevent attainment of the established vision for the project. Observations were recorded on a pre-coded checklist (see Appendix C) and were conducted on different days of the week (weekend vs. weekday) and at different times of the day. The author made note of how pedestrians and cyclists accessed the Eastridge Shopping Mall site and recorded pedestrian activities along the surrounding streets of the mall. During each site visit, the author observed the activities on each street for 15 minutes. No subjects were approached or engaged in conversation during this time. Photographs were taken at the study area in order to add to the visual quality of this report. However, in an effort to protect the privacy of the subjects, the identifying features of the subjects were blurred using Photoshop software. Once the photographs were modified, the original photographs, showing the identifying features of the subjects, were destroyed. (Chapter 3 provides the findings of the behavioral observation study) For the analysis, the author speculated about the opportunities and constraints presented by the study area’s physical environment. In order to accomplish this, the author studied the field observations, maps, and photographs taken during all three site visits to the study area. An annotated diagram was developed to graphically summarize the key findings of the analysis. (Chapter 3 describes the areas of opportunities and constraints) C. COMPARATIVE CASE STUDIES In an attempt to build upon this experience and gain real-life lessons about retrofitting traditional shopping malls, the author conducted two case studies of projects similar to the study topic. Case study selection criteria, evaluation criteria, and methodology are explained in greater detail in Chapter 4 of this paper. The remainder of the report is divided into five chapters, the details of which are provided below. Chapter 2 is based on both a literature review and the responses the planning professionals and urban designers provided during the interview stage of the research. The chapter briefly summarizes the common themes pertaining to retrofitting suburban shopping malls that were identified through the literature review and interviews. In addition, the chapter describes the historical background of shopping malls in the United States. Chapter 3 presents additional background information about the study area, including analysis of site characteristics, land uses and transportation facilities. The chapter also provides a critical look at the existing built environment of the study area, which is based on the findings of urban design analysis and the behavioral observation studies that were conducted in the area. Next, Chapter 4 describes case studies that examined Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek and The Crossings in Mountain View. In conclusion, the chapter compares and summarizes the key findings and lessons learned from the urban design analysis of the case study sites. Building upon the issues and opportunities identified from the analysis of the study area, Chapter 5 recommends urban design strategies and design schemes that can resuscitate San Jose’s Eastridge Shopping Mall. The strategies are based on lessons learned through the literature review, interviews and case studies. Finally, the concluding chapter, Chapter 6, summarizes the key findings and discusses the limitations of the studies, while also suggesting areas for future research in this topic.
  15. 15. SHOPPING MALLS 2 2.1. History of Shopping Malls in the United States 2.2. Role of Shopping Malls in American Life 2.3. Urban Design Strategies for Rethinking Suburban Shopping Malls An Opportunity for ReInvigorating Suburbs 2.4. Challenges to Retrofitting Shopping Malls 2.5. Conclusion O ver the last decade, the planning movement towards retrofitting suburban shopping malls has been widely documented. This chapter provides a review of the literature dealing with this topic and also presents the findings of the interviews with local urban designers and planners. The analysis is intended to identify and examine the strategies and issues related to reinvigorating suburban developments, particularly conventional shopping malls.
  16. 16. RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 16 2.1. History of Shopping Malls in the United States The emergence of the shopping mall — an event that profoundly impacted how people spent their time and money — grew out of the very conditions that led to the proliferation of suburbs in United States in the first place. The wave of immigrants and unprecedented population growth in the post Second World War period exacerbated by rapid industrialization across American cities, worsened the living conditions in the cities, which were often perceived as “dirty, unhealthy, and crowded.”33 The mass production of automobiles and the availability of cheap, plentiful land beyond the cities and easy federal mortgage funding opened new possibilities for the middle class, enabling them to achieve their dream of affording a large, single-family home. The burgeoning popularity of suburbs — that later became the quintessential embodiment of American life — necessitated the development of shopping centers, which, unlike traditional main streets and “congested” downtowns, accommodated automobiles and provided a “safe, clean environment” to its users.34 The freestanding strip malls — with a number of adjacent stores and shared parking on one side of the site — fulfilled the basic needs of the suburban residents, albeit the large walking distance between stores and parking lots prevented these from becoming places where people wanted to linger once they finished shopping.35 Learning from the deficiencies of precedent retail formats, Victor Gruen, an Austria-born architect, conceptualized an inventive shopping model that would serve as a “downtown-away-from-town” for the newly established suburban communities.36 Motivated by the success of European pedestrian streets, he insisted that separating the pedestrian and vehicular traffic was pivotal for ensuring the safety and comfort of the users.37 A roof was later added, with the intention of enhancing the comfort of users by protecting them from severe weather conditions.38 Like main streets and downtowns, his model incorporated competing retail brands under the same roof, with the underlying objective of offering the users with a wider selection of goods and attracting different type of shoppers.39 Drawing inspiration 33. Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]. 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid. 36. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 37. Ibid. 38. Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]. 39. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. from traditional marketplaces such as ancient Greek Agora, Italian Piazzas and modern-day town squares, Gruen proposed the addition of civic and community uses. The vision was to create a shopping place that would be more than a mere retail destination, by offering opportunities for social interaction and recreational activities, something that was largely missing from the suburbs.40 The opening of Southdale Shopping Mall in Edina, Minnesota realized Gruen’s ambitious concept and marked the birth of the enclosed shopping mall, which soon became an integral part of life for American.41 The unprecedented success of the project set the stage for hundreds of similar shopping malls around the globe. Between the 1970s and 1990s — the golden period for shopping malls — suburbs all across the nation saw a proliferation of shopping malls, which sprang from 643 to 1,170 in number.42 However, the shopping malls replaced and destroyed the very places — downtowns, main streets, and traditional public places — that originally formed the basis of their conception.43 One of the central ironies of shopping malls is that they sought to alleviate the isolation of the suburbs, but the problem was further aggravated as the mammoth, inwardly focused developments, with monolithic exterior facades and a surrounding sea of parking were completely disconnected and in disharmony with their neighboring environments. households — that often have different needs and preferences that favor a more cosmopolitan lifestyle.46 One urban designer appropriately summed up the scenario: “The shopping malls were conceived with a certain vision of the American Dream family setting, where men went out for work and women stayed at home taking care of the daily chores and children. The shattering of this dream was one of the leading causes for the decline of shopping malls.”47 Acknowledging the changing taste and preferences and cutting-edge market competition, the malls took several approaches to lure back the shoppers and maximize their hold of the market, ranging from making cosmetic architectural changes to adding entertainment uses to remodeling the exterior facade. In contrast, during the same period, there were indications of a renewal of interest in main street shopping that has catapulted the development of lifestyle centers and the redevelopment of downtown areas across the nation.48 In summary, the evolution of shopping malls over the past six decades, from their rise to decline, provides an insightful understanding about what worked and what did not work. The lessons learned from the history offer a useful guide for resuscitating declining shopping malls. The 1990s marked the beginning of the decline of suburban shopping malls.44 Once considered an iconic symbol of American retail, their decline was caused by the convergence of a multitude of factors, including an oversupply of retail and competition posed by retail formats such as big-box stores, category killers, and online commerce. In 2009, the United States had 23.1 square feet of shopping center space per person, the highest for any country.45 One more reason behind the decline in shopping malls and the redefinition of the retail landscape was the demographic shifts and changes in shopping preferences. The 2010 U.S. Census suggests that there has been an unmistakable shift from traditional to non-traditional households — senior citizens, singles, immigrants, and childless 40. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 41. Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid. 45. International Council of Shopping Centers, “Frequently Asked Questions: Statistics,” International Council of Shopping Centers, http://www.icsc.org/srch /faq_category.php?cat_type=research&cat_id=3 [accessed November 25, 2012]. 46. New American Factfinder, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 and 2010, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/ nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml [accessed May 25, 2012]. 47. Ian Ross, interview by author, Januray 5, 2013. 48. Lee Sobel S., Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]; Barrett S. Lane, “Destination Shopping: Defining “Destination” Retail in the New American Suburbs,” [University of Pennsylvania, 2010]; Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002].
  17. 17. RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 17 2.2. Role of Shopping Malls in American Life There is considerable evidence that shopping malls are among the few “community places” for suburban residents. Providing a respite from the isolation and loneliness stemming from living in suburbs, Zepp contends that shopping malls are a staple of life for suburban residents by serving as a gathering place and offering opportunities for social interaction among the community members.49 Pointing towards the protest of the local community members against the closure of Morningside Mall in the suburbs of Toronto, Parlette and Cowen further suggest that shopping malls have become deeply enmeshed in the community life of suburban residents, for whom malls were often much more than simply a place to shop.50 In retrospect, Cohen notes that shopping malls had often played an active role in community by serving as a center stage for a wide range of community causes and events. Among the notable examples is the career development program launched by North Dartmouth Mall in Massachusetts in response to surging unemployment rates in 1990s and a memorial service held in Colorado’s Villa Italia and Southwest Plaza for the victims of the infamous Columbine High School shooting in 1999.51 In order to anticipate the impact of declining shopping malls, Scharoun explored the social and cultural significance of these places to American life.52 The findings of Scharoun’s study suggest that by providing a safe, non-threatening, and comfortable environment, shopping malls at the height of their success in the 1980s were considered a suitable place for socialization by families, and especially teenagers and senior citizens.53 The term “mall rats,” coined in the 1980s and referring to teenagers who regularly pass their time at malls, further indicates the surging popularity of shopping malls during that era.54 The perception that teenagers were turning into mall rats has been supported by statistical data. According to a 1990 poll, an average American teenager made four trips to the mall each month and spent more time at the mall than anywhere else except home and school.55 Similarly, senior citizens have been identified as frequent 49. Zepp Ira, The New Religious Image of Urban America: The Shopping Mall as Ceremonial Centre [Colorado: University of Colorado Press, 1997]. 50. Vanessa Parlette and Deborah Cowen, “Dead Malls: Suburban Activism, Local Spaces, Global Logistics,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35, no. 4 [July 2011]. 51. Nancy E. Cohen, America’s Marketplace: The History of Shopping Centers [Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing Group, 2002]. 52. Lisa Scharoun, “Utopia Lost? The Significance of the Shopping Mall in American Culture and the Effects of its Decline on the American Public,” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 1, no. 2 [2012]: 227-45. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid. 55. Ibid. mall patrons; the climate-controlled environment of malls provides them with a “safe and comfortable” place to walk all year round.56 shopping malls is specifically designed for encouraging consumption and not for addressing the needs of communities.62 Although the literature is in general agreement about the role of shopping malls in the lives of Americans but whether shopping malls are truly public places is debatable. The answer to this question is particularly valuable for the research project, both to understand whether or not retrofitted shopping malls can help address the community’s need for public space, and to identify the shortcomings that might prevent such spaces from functioning as true public spaces. Despite the criticism levied against privately owned public spaces, the studies are in general agreement that in the absence of traditional public spaces in suburbs, such places offer opportunities for social interaction and recreational activities. Describing the protest of the community against the closure of Morningside Mall in a suburb of Toronto, Palette and Cowen suggest that the way in which people perceive and use a space, referred to as “spatial practice,” goes beyond its designation as a public or private space.63 The assertion is supported by Edward’s study that states that shopping malls can serve as civic space.64 Although his study reached a different conclusion compared to other studies, this is largely caused by the interpretation of the terms “community” and “public.” A “public” place is defined as one that allows social interaction, expression, and deliberation and discussion among strangers, while “community” is based on some type of commonality among the members and imposes unstated norms on the behavior and conduct.65 A great deal of literature concentrates on the debate surrounding the private status of shopping malls. One study argues that the shopping mall fails to serve as a true public place since the authorities have a disproportionate amount of control over the type of activities and people allowed on their property.57 This leads to the exclusion of “undesirable” people and contentious activities, such as debate and discussion on political issues, which interfere with the primary motive of maximizing economic consumption.58 The claim is further established by Mattson who affirms that political deliberation is central to democracy and malls strive to provide a non-threatening and conflict-free environment within which customers can shop, such places seems to provide only a simulacrum of true public space.59 However, pointing towards the failure of traditional public places that are often infiltrated by the homeless and crime, Edward argues that people desire a sense of safety, control, and comfort that is offered by such privately owned public spaces.60 In sum, studies suggest that since the objective of shopping malls is economic consumption, they fail to create true public spaces. However, it cannot be overlooked that these places have the potential to provide “third spaces” for communities, something that is largely missing in the suburban landscape. Staeheli and Mitchell offer another critique of the shopping mall as a public space. They note that shopping malls are surrounded by a sea of asphalt and detached from the surrounding neighborhood. This aspect of the physical environment further excludes certain types of people.61 The lack of connectivity with public transit, for instance, deters people without cars. Similarly, Mattson suggests that the built environment of 56. Dorene Internicola, “These Malls are Made for Walking,” Reuters, posted January 25, 2010, http:// www.reuters.com/article/2010 /01/25/us-fitness-malls-walking-idUSTRE60O24F20100125 [accessed November 25, 2012]. 57. Lynn A. Staehel and Don Mitchell, “USA’s Destiny? Regulating Space and Creating Community in American Shopping Malls,” Urban Studies 43, no.5 [May 2006]: 977-92. 58. Ibid. 59. Kevin Mattson, “Reclaiming and Remaking Public Space: Towards Architecture for American Democracy,” National Civic Review 88, no.2 [Summer 1999]: 133-44. 60. Paul Edward, “Citizenship Inc.: Negotiating Civic Spaces in Post-urban America,” Critical Survey 18, no.3 [2006]: 19-36. 61. Lynn A. Staeheli and Don Mitchell, “USA’s Destiny? Regulating Space and Creating Community in American Shopping Malls.” Urban Studies 43, no.5 [May 2006]: 977-92. 62. Kevin Mattson, “Antidotes to Sprawl,” in Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall [Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002). 63. Vanessa Parlette and Deborah Cowen, “Dead Malls: Suburban Activism, Local Spaces, Global Logistics,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35, no. 4 [July 2011]. 64. Paul Edward, “Citizenship Inc.: Negotiating Civic Spaces in Post-urban America,” Critical Survey 18, no.3 [2006]: 19-36. 65. Ibid.
  18. 18. 18 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 2.3. Urban Design Strategies for Rethinking Suburban Shopping Malls Reviewing the relevant literature and conducting interviews helped to identify some of the key urban design strategies that seem appropriate to the task of redeveloping a suburban shopping mall. These include redesigning parking, providing mixed land uses and integrating the suburban shopping mall with its surrounding neighborhood. This section summarizes the supporting and opposing arguments that the literature and interviewed urban designers made for the commonly adopted strategies involved with such projects. Two of the studies attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of urban design strategies on fostering the positive results anticipated by the researchers. A survey of planners conducted by Garde indicates that innovative projects — with design strategies typical of urban places — help to foster positive impacts for suburbs and enable planners to address some of the common challenges associated with suburbs, such as a lack of a sense of place and public life.66 However, a study by Rice produced mixed findings. Applying the urban design methods advocated for retrofitting suburbs, the study predicted the anticipated “sustainability” benefits generated for two suburban cities in the United Kingdom.67 Although the study suggested that the strategies are helpful in improving overall accessibility for the cities, they were found to be lower than that anticipated by the planning documents. However, the divergent results can be explained by the difference in research methodology and the limitations of the study. While the results of Garde’s study only reflected the perspective of planners who might be influenced by popular planning principles, Rice’s results were largely influenced by the defined measures of sustainability. A. IMPROVING CONNECTIVITY OF THE MALL WITH SURROUNDING AREAS The lack of connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood, a ULI report warns, will create a “stand-alone project” that in spite of offering a safe, pedestrian environment will continue to generate a large number of automobile trips.68 The moat of the parking area that typically surrounds suburban shopping malls disconnects them from the surrounding neighborhoods. However, the redevelopment 66. Ajay Garde, “City Sense and Suburban Design,” Journal of American Planning Association 74, no. 3 [Summer 2008]: 325-42. 67. Louis Rice, “Retrofitting Suburbia: Is the compact city feasible?,” Urban Design and Planning 163, no. 4 [December 2010]: 193-204. 68. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]. of suburban shopping malls provides an excellent opportunity for re-integrating the site into the existing urban fabric. Similarly, an interviewed urban designer noted that the connectivity of a mall beyond its site is critical for the attainment of retrofitting goals, such as walkability and the reduction of automobile dependency.69 The research identifies three main challenges in connecting shopping malls with the surrounding neighborhood. First, suburban shopping malls are often centered on pedestrian-hostile arterial or collector streets with high-traffic volume and high speed.70 Second, the commonly embraced alternative for mall redevelopment projects — mixed-use, high-density development — is often inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhoods that are characterized by single-use, low-density developments.71 Last, shopping malls are typically located on a superblock, also referred by Scheer as “campus tissue” tracts of land that are developed with several buildings but not subdivided into distinct properties; as a result, superblocks are impermeable to the surrounding street network and limit the mobility of traffic and pedestrians through the site.72 A number of studies sought to develop strategies for addressing these challenges. Tachieva suggested that decreasing the capacity and enhancing the character of the throughways is helpful in improving pedestrian friendliness.73 The capacity of a street is the traffic volume, while surrounding buildings, setbacks, and streetscape influence the character of a street. Another study by Bach et al. suggested analyzing the synergies between proposed and existing land uses and providing a buffer between incompatible land uses.74 Similarly, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s report suggested a gradual increase in intensity of land uses, starting from the periphery of the proposed development that is adjacent to single-family homes, or other low-density land uses.75 Beyond the challenge presented by the 69. R. John Anderson, interview by author, Januray 5, 2013. 70. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]; Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010]; Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; and Ian Ross, interview by author, January 5, 2013. 71. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, D.C.: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]; Charles C. Bohl, Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2002]; Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010]; and Ian Ross, interview by author, January 5, 2013. 72. Brenda Case Scheer, “The Anatomy of Sprawl,” Places 14, no. 2 [2001]: 28-37. 73. Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010]. 74. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]. 75. Atlanta Regional Commission, Greyfield Redevelopment: Community Choices Quality Growth Toolkit, http://www.atlantaregional.com /File%20Library/ Local%20Gov%20Services /gs_cct_greyfieldtool_1109.pdf [accessed June 25, 2012]. superblock, Scheer’s spatiotemporal model suggests that the absence of “superstructure” — street network and land boundaries — makes such developments more receptive to changes compared to traditional city blocks.76 Anders suggests breaking the large superblocks into smaller block sizes that are similar in size to that of the surrounding neighborhood.77 Four other studies also recognize that block size has an influence on walkability, with a maximum recommended length of no more than 600 feet and a maximum perimeter of 1800 feet.78 Besides block size, three other studies suggest that the decision to walk is also influenced by distance, the upper limit being a walk of ten minutes, which is roughly equivalent to a quarter-to-half mile distance.79 Clearly, the research suggests that improving the connectivity of the shopping mall with the surrounding area should be a key consideration in mall redevelopment projects. Although there are a number of strategies identified for enhancing connectivity, there is a dearth of literature that evaluates their effectiveness. B. RE-CONFIGURING EXISTING PARKING This is one of the key strategies advocated for redeveloping suburban shopping malls in the reviewed literature. Research indicates that the vast sea of parking that typically surrounds shopping mall buildings presents both challenges and opportunities. Parking lots, three studies agree, disconnect shopping malls from surrounding communities and limit accessibility by pedestrians.80 Another study suggests that the over-scaled parking creates visual blight and a poor sense of place.81 However, at the same time, the reviewed literature 76. Brenda Case Scheer, “The Anatomy of Sprawl,” Places 14, no. 2 [2001]: 28-37. 77. Mark Anders, “Understanding and Balancing Mixed Use Scheme: The Key to Creating Successful Communities,” Journal of Retail and Leisure Property 3, no. 4 [January 2004]: 353-64. 78. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Charles C. Bohl, Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages [Washington,D.C.: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2002]; Lee Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]; and Jonathan Barnett, Redesigning Cities: Principles, Practice, Implementation [Chicago: Planners Press, 2003]. 79. Jonathan Barnett, Redesigning Cities: Principles, Practice, Implementation [Chicago: Planners Press, 2003]; Micheal Southworth, “Designing the Walkable City,” Journal of Urban Planning and Development 131 [December 2005]: 246-57; and Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 80. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]; Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010]; Atlanta Regional Commission, Greyfield Redevelopment: Community Choices Quality Growth Toolkit, http://www.atlantaregional.com /File%20Library/ Local%20 Gov%20Services /gs_cct_greyfieldtool_1109.pdf [accessed June 25, 2012]. 81. Atlanta Regional Commission, Greyfield Redevelopment: Community Choices Quality Growth Toolkit, http://www.atlantaregional.com /File%20Library/ Local%20Gov%20Services /gs_cct_greyfieldtool_1109. pdf [accessed June 25, 2012]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency,Malls into Mainstreets [2005].
  19. 19. 19 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST was in agreement that the large parking lots surrounding the shopping mall offer an excellent opportunity for reinvigorating the site into a walkable, mixed-use, and high-density development. Parking needs are typically estimated based on peak demand or ratios that often cause an oversupply of parking. One of the interviewed urban designers talked about how onerous and inflexible municipal parking requirements often pose significant constraints on the development of walkable and high density projects.82 A study by Urban Land Institute (ULI) found that for a conventional suburban shopping mall, parking, and associated streets consume three times more land than that devoted for shopping.83 Despite the problems associated with the provision of parking areas, the study by Bach et al. suggests that the design, amount, and location of parking is important for retail success.84 The Congress of New Urbanism’s 2005 study elaborates the point further by arguing that residential uses, by themselves, are often not sufficient to sustain retail developments.85 Moreover, it is unrealistic to assume that creating a walkable, pedestrian-oriented development will completely prevent automobile dependency. In other words, the studies identify a need for re-configuring parking in a way that addresses the needs of all users, while creating an aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-oriented environment. A majority of studies suggest that by allowing effective utilization of valuable land, the replacement of surface parking with structured parking is an economically viable strategy for reinvigorating shopping malls.86 However, pointing towards the exorbitant cost associated with structured parking, Bohl suggests breaking the large parking lots into smaller lots and spreading them throughout the site.87 Also recognizing the high cost of building structured parking, ULI’s report stated that structured parking is economically feasible only 82. R. John Anderson, interview by author, January 5, 2013. 83. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]. 84. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006];and Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 85. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 86. Atlanta Regional Commission, Greyfield Redevelopment: Community Choices Quality Growth Toolkit, http://www.atlantaregional.com /File%20Library/ Local%20Gov%20Services /gs_cct_greyfieldtool_1109.pdf [accessed June 25, 2012]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]; Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010]; and Lee Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]. 87. Charles C. Bohl, Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2002]. when the cost of the land reaches $50 to $60 per square foot.88 In addition, the study suggests developing design strategies that help to physically and visually integrate the parking structure with the rest of the development. One of the interviewed urban designers suggested that the parking requirement of a development can be judiciously met through a coherent urban design solution that coordinates parking with the surrounding neighborhood.89 In essence, the research indicates that re-configuring parking allows the creation of a pedestrian-oriented environment and intensifies the use of the suburban shopping mall site. This supports redevelopment of parking areas as an effective urban design strategy. C. MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT AS A STRATEGY FOR REINVIGORATING SUBURBAN SHOPPING MALLS The literature and interviewed urban designers consistently mention mixed-use development as the key strategy for redeveloping suburban shopping malls. Given the economic and social benefits of providing a mixture of land uses for the surrounding communities, Bucher argues that mixed-use development is among “best practices” for the redevelopment of declining suburban shopping malls.90 Similarly, Tachieva notes that because it offers a range of housing choices and convenient access to daily needs and work, the mixed-use scheme finds its niche in the emerging demographic groups, for example baby boomers, empty nesters, and the millennial population with a preference for the urban lifestyle.91 This assertion found agreement with an interviewed urban designer, who emphasized that the reintroduction of entertainment uses, such as play areas for children, live music events, gourmet restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, and other public uses, should be pursued with the goal of “diversifying reasons for the people to visit these places.”92 Two studies further suggest that in addition to addressing the needs of the community, developers favor such developments as the synergies between different land uses help reduce the developers’ 88. Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]. 89. R. John Anderson, interview by author, January 5, 2013. 90. David C Bucher, “Case Study: Greyfields as an Emerging Smart Growth Opportunity with the Potential for Added Synergies through a Unique Mix of Uses,” Real Estate Issue 27, no.2 [2002]. 91. Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington D.C.: Island Press, 2010]. 92. Ian Ross, interview by author, January 5, 2013. susceptibility to market risks and fluctuations.93 The convenience offered by providing retail close to housing, for instance, raises its demand, which in turn, creates a market for retail. However, the assertion was contradicted by the Congress of New Urbanism’s 2005 report, which cautioned that residential uses by themselves are not adequate to sustain and support the retail markets in such developments.94 The disagreement over the potential economic benefits of mixed-use developments indicates that there is a need to further evaluate mixed-use developments in order to determine whether the anticipated benefits are realized. In addition to the anticipated benefits generated by mixed-use developments, the influence of these developments on travel choice is commonly studied across a majority of the literature. Two studies had contradictory results regarding the relationship between walking and mixed land use. Yusak et al. found no statistically significant relationship between the amount of walking and the mix of land uses for the survey respondents in thirteen neighborhoods in the United Kingdom.95 The results suggest that walking is, in fact, influenced by demographic characteristics such as, age, household size and number of children. The study further indicates that the presence of trafficcalming features and the quality of the physical environment also affect an individual’s decision to walk.96 Similarly, in a study that focused on evaluating three mixed-use developments in the suburbs of greater Toronto area, Filion found that a majority of trips within these developments were made using automobiles.97 Across the three developments, a variation in the level of walking was also identified on the availability of parking, building coverage, block size, and building street frontage.98 The findings of these studies imply that the provision of mixed-use development alone does not ensure a reduction in automobile dependency, and suggest that improving the built environment is crucial for increasing walkability and the pedestrian friendliness of a given area. However, it should be noted 93. David C Bucher, “Case Study: Greyfields as an Emerging Smart Growth Opportunity with the Potential for Added Synergies through a Unique Mix of Uses,” Real Estate Issue 27, no.2 [2002]; Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 94. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 95. Yusak O. Suslio, Katie Williams, Morag Lindsay, and Carol Dair, “ The Influence of Individual’s Environmental Attitudes and Urban Design Features on Their Travel Patterns in Sustainable Neighborhood in UK,” Transportation Research 17 [2012]: 190-200. 96. Ibid. 97. Pierre Filion, “Suburban Mixed-Use Centers and Urban Dispersion: What Difference Do They Make?” Environment and Planning A. 33, no. 1 [2001]: 141-60. 98. Ibid.
  20. 20. 20 RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST 2.4. Challenges to Retrofitting Shopping Malls that culture may also have an influence on an individual’s travel choices; for instance, Europeans, in general, are believed to walk and cycle more than Americans, who are understood to rely more heavily on automobiles. Although a number of studies indicate that mixed-use development is central to current planning paradigms, a few studies also discuss the challenges associated with its execution. Grant and Perott argue that the layout cannot work at all locations since sustaining such projects requires a reasonably large population.99 The authors further indicate that developers’ limited experience with mixed-use developments in North America and the prolonged approval process due to the large amount of public interest that is typical of such projects, makes this design layout more expensive than conventional malls. Anders further argues that it is crucial to understand the location, demographics, and needs of the surrounding communities and warns against an oversimplified view of mixed-use development.100 The findings indicate that although mixed-use developments have the potential to generate the desired benefits, the same design scheme cannot be repeated everywhere. Another common pitfall of mixed-use projects involves mixing land uses together without considering the dynamic relationships among them. Filion examined the benefits of three mixed-use developments and found that the respondents conducted less than 10 percent of their non-food shopping within the development.101 The findings indicate that a multitude of factors, such as the quality of the retail, shopping choices, and individual preferences affect shopping decisions. This conclusion is supported by the findings of Yusak et al. who found that 60 percent of the respondents travelled more than one kilometer outside the studied mixed-use developments for their daily shopping needs. These findings suggest that a careful consideration is needed to provide the amount and type of retail uses the residents desire in mixed-use development. 99. Jill Grant and Katherine Perrott, “Where is the Café: The Challenge of Making Retail Uses Viable in Mixed-use Suburban Development?” Urban Studies 48, no.1 [January 2011]: 177-95. 100. Mark Anders, “Understanding and Balancing Mixed Use Scheme: The Key to Creating Successful Communities,” Journal of Retail and Leisure Property 3, no. 4 [January 2004]: 353-364. 101. Pierre Filion, “Suburban Mixed-Use Centers and Urban Dispersion: What Difference Do They Make?” Environment and Planning A. 33, no. 1[2001]: 141-60. To summarize, the research indicates that mixed-use development is a potentially useful strategy for redeveloping suburban shopping malls. However, to avoid the perils of mixed-use developments and ensure the success of such projects, a careful assessment of the neighborhood environment and the synergies between the component land uses must occur. Redeveloping an existing mammoth-scale shopping mall is by no means simple and straightforward. The process is complex and daunting and involves a wide range of stakeholders, including mall developers, community members, and city planning professionals. A multitude of factors poses more hurdles to retrofitting existing shopping malls, including challenges related with the design, site, financing, and implementation of such projects. The following section provides a brief description of the common challenges identified by the literature and the interviewed urban designers and planner. A. HURDLES IMPOSED BY THE EXISTING SITE CONDITIONS Considering the exorbitant cost and time associated with redevelopment projects, the existing site capacity is critical for determining whether redeveloping a shopping mall is feasible and is likely to generate desired outcomes. Although the assessment of feasibility depends on the individual development objectives, three features were identified in the successful redevelopment of such sites. Location of the potential retrofit sites First, because the success of retail and other commercial uses — often a cornerstone land uses for redeveloped shopping mall — requires shoppers and visitors, centrally located sites with easy accessibility to arterial roads and transit are generally considered suitable for redevelopment.102 The case of Downtown Park Forest in Illinois, a redeveloped version of the “poorly-located” declining Park Plaza Shopping Mall with no access to any main throughways, supports this assertion; even an award-winning design scheme failed to attract tenants to the area.103 A location adjacent to arterial roads and existing transit facilities holds a significant advantage, a Congress of New Urbanism 2005 report suggests, because it can accommodate additional pedestrians and vehicular traffic likely to be generated by such redeveloped projects.104 The proximity to arterial roads, the report also recognizes, poses a design challenge by creating a hostile environment for both 102. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 103. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]. 104. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005].
  21. 21. RE-ENVISIONING SAN JOSE’S EASTRIDGE SHOPPING MALL | SPRING 2013 | AASTHA VASHIST pedestrians and bikes.105 Sites with freeway access, two studies elaborate, are disadvantageous because they lure big-box retailers which, given their commercial nature, are often strategically located on sites with high visibility.106 Although land and parking-intensive big box retailers provide an economical, low-risk alternative for declining shopping malls, the use of mall sites by such retailers might result in missed opportunities for creating a distinct sense of place, fostering a pedestrian oriented environment, and knitting the site into the fabric of the neighborhood. Likewise, one of the interviewed urban designers noted that adjoining arterials limit the scope and benefits of mall retrofits by acting as a hurdle in fostering connectivity with the existing urban fabric.107 Specific to the Eastridge Shopping Mall, the interviewed city planner asserted that one of the biggest challenges to the development is that the site is located at the end of a general aviation airport runway; as a consequence, Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) regulations apply to the site.108 This necessitates the need for a study examining the airport’s safety zone to ensure safety and comfort of the area’s future users. Size of the potential retrofit sites Second, provision of a wide array of mixed uses, a common strategy employed for redeveloping shopping mall sites, requires a substantially-sized site.109 Common reasoning offered by the literature is that the resultant project should be financially profitable and justify the cost associated with redeveloping the site.110 However, this claim is challenged by the Congress of New Urbanism’s report. Pointing to the prosperous 12-acre City Place in Long Beach, California and the 28-acre Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida, it argues that suitable location and thoughtful design, not size, is pivotal for the success of 105. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 106. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 107. Ian Ross, interview by author, January 5, 2013. 108. Laurel Prevetti, interview by author, February 5, 2013. 109. Charles C. Bohl, Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages [Washington,DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2002]; Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; and Richard B. Pieser, Will Fleissig, and Martin Zogran, “From Shopping Centers to Village Centers,” in Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall [Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002], 81-84. 110. Charles C. Bohl, Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2002]; Richard B. Pieser, Will Fleissig, and Martin Zogran, “From Shopping Centers to Village Centers,” in Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall [Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002], 81-84. mixed use developments.111 The large size of shopping malls, however, poses another design challenge. Located on superblocks, which are disproportionately larger than the surrounding city blocks, shopping malls, a majority of the studies agree, disrupt the surrounding street pattern.112 Consequently, the integration of the site with the existing urban fabric might require complete or partial demolition of buildings, a contingency that might not be an economically viable alternative for operating a shopping mall. Demographics of the potential retrofit sites’s surrounding neighborhood Last, the literature suggests that the demographics of the surrounding communities are a key factor for identifying the appropriate redevelopment approach for a shopping mall site.113 Based on the assessment of six successful shopping mall redevelopment projects across the nation, the Congress of New Urbanism’s report suggests that areas with a substantial population growth and a high proportion of adults provides a suitable setting for transforming shopping malls into mixed-use developments.114 Tachieva suggested downsizing remotely located shopping malls in communities with a declining population in the surrounding communities into agricultural villages.115 The underlying rationale behind analyzing the demographics for the surrounding population is to understand what the community needs and whether there is substantial demand and support for the proposed development.116 111. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 112. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]; Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]; and Lee S. Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]. 113. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]; Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]; and Lee S. Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]. 114. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 115. Galina Tachieva, Sprawl Repair Manual [Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2010]. 116. Ibid. 21 B. HURDLES TO IMPLEMENTING REDEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR SHOPPING MALLS Although this paper largely focuses on investigating appropriate urban design strategies for redeveloping suburban shopping malls, an understanding of the common implementation barriers to successful execution of such projects provides a more complete picture necessary for such projects. The first step toward implementation of the project is to identify the suitable sites. Although shopping mall sites are often under a single-ownership, four studies indicate that any leases or deeds signed by mall tenants and requiring the owner’s approval, often function as common impediments that can delay the proposed redevelopment.117 The redevelopment plans for Plaza Pasadena in California, for example, were delayed because of contention between the mall owner and anchor stores.118 In order to prevent such situations, Falcone in his book Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall, suggests developers evaluate such encumbrances before considering any redevelopment plans.119 A majority of studies agree that the involvement of multiple stakeholders (e.g., mall owners, developers, planning professionals, local government agencies, bankers, environmental groups, NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) groups, and surrounding communities), which is typical for large-scale redevelopment projects, poses another serious challenge for the implementation of such projects.120 Dunham-Jones and Williamson further note that the apprehension of members of the local community, who are often opposed to the idea of high density and mixed use developments, makes it difficult to generate public support and funding for such projects; considering the associated high costs, this support is often imperative for the success of such projects.121 The fear of gentrification and resultant community 117. Lee S. Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]; and Mark Falcone, Joseph F. Reilly, Ron Sher, Donald R. Zuchelli, and Benjamin R. Barber, “Roundtable: Obstacles to Development,” in Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall [Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002], 85-97; Interview with urban designers, January 5, 2013. 118. Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]. 119. Mark Falcone, Joseph F. Reilly, Ron Sher, Donald R. Zuchelli, and Benjamin R. Barber, “Roundtable: Obstacles to Development,” in Sprawl and Public Space: Redressing the Mall [Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 2002], 85-97. 120. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011]; Congress for New Urbanism, and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Malls into Mainstreets [2005]; Alexa Bach, Michael D. Beyard, Mary Beth Corrigan, Anita Kramer, and Michael Pawlukiewicz, Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall [Washington, DC: ULI-Urban Land Institute, 2006]; and Lee S. Sobel, Ellen Greenberg, and Steven Bodzin, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods [Pittsburgh: Congress for New Urbanism, 2002]. 121. Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburb [New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2011].

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