April 10 2013

A Makeover for a Lively, But Car-Dependent Shopping Center

Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville’s forward-looking, 2030 draft “Growth Vision” imagines the city’s evolution: the sprawling, car-dependent home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base – characterized by its bedroom communities, “big box” stores, and chain restaurants – will grow into a city of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Is this feasible? Perhaps.

An Expansive Parking Lot Along Skibo Rd.

The Expansive Cross Creek Mall Lot, Framing Skibo Rd.

Here’s how it could begin:

The Cross Creek Mall district offers numerous retailers and restaurants. With a little imagination, Fayetteville’s evolution could begin here. It’s centrally located, commercially booming, and lively.

The Entrance to Cross Creek Mall

The Entrance to Cross Creek Mall from Skibo Rd.

Arterial, multi-lane roadways and retailers’ predilection for expansive parking lots fronting their respective establishments deter consumers from parking and then walking about.

How could Fayetteville surmount these obstacles?

  • Build a tree-lined, landscaped median to divide Skibo Road, and limit the number of points at which vehicles may turn into establishments from Skibo Road;
  • Create a landscape design plan for the lots abutting Skibo Road, and establish incentives to entice businesses to conform to this plan. This design plan should call for tree-lined and landscaped lot perimeters, a small number of “pocket parks” within lots, and landscaped pedestrian paths;
  • Build pedestrian overpasses to permit pedestrians to safely cross Skibo and Morganton Roads. These should not be particularly high because the surrounding buildings generally consist only of one story. The overpasses should be designed to blend into the greenery created by the tree-lined median and tree-lined lots. For example, hanging vegetation, like that employed to screen parking garages in Honolulu or construction fences in Philadelphia, could be used to blend these overpasses into the greenery.

The implementation of these recommendations would, of course, come with a cost. Would Fayetteville and participating businesses receive a return on their investment? Yes.

Fayetteville possesses a disproportionately large population of twenty-something year olds that would cause such a development to thrive. This demographic often escapes to Raleigh and Southern Pines to seek weekend entertainment because Fayetteville lacks a cohesive, walkable entertainment district. This sort of development would entice off-duty soldiers and airmen to spend their earnings closer to home.

Should your city transform an existing, car-dependent commercial development into a walkable live-work-play district? Comment here or on Twitter!

Credits: Photographs by Sunny Menozzi. Data linked to sources.

Sunny Menozzi

Sunny Menozzi's military duties have taken her to diverse and exciting places, from Singapore to Arizona, South Korea to Afghanistan, and North Carolina to Hawaii. Sunny's travels inspired her interest in cities, especially how they function, the impact of the built environment on the residents, the methods planners employ to shape natural features, and the vibrancy that can be cultivated by good planning and design. She will begin her pursuit of a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 2013. Sunny plans to focus on reuse and historic preservation, community-building, and economic and environmental sustainability. She hopes to contribute to projects that repurpose military bases. An avid runner, Sunny is interested in the design of recreational trails and policies that encourage the development of walkable communities. She holds a B.S. in International Relations and Russian from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 9:23 am and is filed under Landscape Architecture, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “A Makeover for a Lively, But Car-Dependent Shopping Center”

  1. Sunny Menozzi Says:

    Would you like to read more about this topic? Here are a few articles and websites on American mall redesign, form-based codes, and sprawl repair.




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