Environmental Issues > Sustainable Communities Main Page > All Sustainable Communities Documents

The Mall is Dead. Long Live Smart Shopping!

Featured Scenarios: Glenview, IL

The Mall is Dead. Long Live Smart Shopping!

Conventional shopping centers are a thing of the past. By relying on massive, concrete parking lots as the focus of their design, these shopping centers can only be accessed by cars. Plus, paved surfaces are a leading contributor to water pollution. They funnel dirty stormwater into lakes, streams and oceans instead of allowing it to be absorbed back into the ground.

At this obsolete shopping center in Glenview, compact building design would use land efficiently, preserve open space and address problems with stormwater runoff, thus protecting the watershed. Vast spans of car-oriented development -- covered in impermeable asphalt -- can result in overloaded storm drain systems and floods during downpours. Managing stormwater runoff by minimizing concrete is a fundamental smart growth concept.

In addition, bringing in trees and other attractive landscaping, as well as neighborhood-serving shops, condos or offices and other community enhancements, would stave off blight and provide an economic boost to the area.

The new, walkable design would allow residents to shop with their feet instead of their cars. The revamped shopping center would keep all the same amenities in place and add a sense of community character.

Share | |
Find NRDC on
YouTube