How Density Can Save the American Suburb

By pinalice | May 25, 2021, 5:05pm EDT

A recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that 80 percent of regional malls will be shuttered over the next decade. There’s also the possibility that these locations can be repurposed or transformed, but what possibilities are there?

Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor and director of the Urban Design Program at Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, discussed a few options during a Metropolis Think Tank Webinar.

“Nationwide there are currently more than 400 proposals to retrofit malls. Seventy of them have been sustainably rebuilt to become the dense downtowns that suburbs never had,” She said. “Two hundred of them have become hybrid medical/education facilities.”

She adds that in some situations, the malls are being retrofitted as stormwater drainage parks, “because we never should have built there in the first place.”

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